Mortimer Zuckerman (Daily News, L.P.)
June 26, 1919; 97 years ago (1919-06-26) (as Illustrated Daily News)
The New York Daily News, officially titled Daily News, is an American newspaper based in New York City. It is the fourth-most widely circulated daily newspaper in the United States. It was founded in 1919, and was the first U.S. daily printed in tabloid format. It is owned by Mortimer Zuckerman, and is headquartered at 4 New York Plaza in Lower Manhattan.
The Daily News was founded by Joseph Medill Patterson in 1919, as the Illustrated Daily News. (It was not connected to an earlier New York Daily News, which was founded in 1855, flourished under Benjamin Wood, and ceased publication December 1906.) Patterson and his cousin, Robert R. McCormick were co-publishers of the Chicago Tribune and grandsons of Tribune founder Joseph Medill.
When Patterson and McCormick could not agree on the editorial content of the Chicago paper, the two cousins decided at a meeting in Paris that Patterson would work on the project of launching a Tribune-owned newspaper in New York. On his way back, Patterson met with Alfred Harmsworth, who was the Viscount Northcliffe and publisher of the Daily Mirror, London's tabloid newspaper. Impressed with the advantages of a tabloid, Patterson launched the Daily News on June 26, 1919.
The Daily News was not an immediate success, and by August 1919, the paper's circulation had dropped to 26,625. Still, New York's many subway commuters found the tabloid format easier to handle, and readership steadily grew. By the time of the paper's first anniversary in June 1920, circulation was over 100,000 and by 1925, over a million. Circulation reached its peak in 1947, at 2.4 million daily and 4.7 million on Sunday.
The Daily News carried the slogan "New York's Picture Newspaper" from 1920 to 1991, for its emphasis on photographs, and a camera has been part of the newspaper's logo from day one. The paper's later slogan, developed from a 1985 ad campaign, is "New York's Hometown Newspaper", while another has been "The Eyes, the Ears, the Honest Voice of New York". The Daily News continues to include large and prominent photographs, for news, entertainment and sports, as well as intense city news coverage, celebrity gossip, classified ads, comics, a sports section, and an opinion section.
News-gathering operations were, for a time, organized using two-way radios, operating on 173.3250 MHz (radio station KEA 871) allowing the assignment desk to communicate with its personnel who utilized a fleet of "radio cars".
Prominent sports cartoonists have included Bill Gallo, Bruce Stark and Ed Murawinski. Columnists have included Walter Kaner. Editorial cartoonists have included C. D. Batchelor.
The paper briefly published between 1978 and 1981 Daily News Tonight, a Monday-Friday afternoon counterpart which competed with the New York Post, which had earlier launched a morning edition to complement the evening newspaper. Occasional "P.M. Editions" were published as extras in 1991 during the brief tenure of Robert Maxwell as publisher.
In 1982, and again in the early 1990s during a newspaper strike, the Daily News almost went out of business. In the 1982 instance, the parent Tribune offered the tabloid up for sale. In 1991, millionaire Robert Maxwell offered financial assistance to The News to help it stay in business. When Maxwell died shortly thereafter, The News seceded from his publishing empire, which eventually splintered under questions about whether Maxwell had the financial backing to sustain it. After Maxwell's death in 1991, the paper was held together in bankruptcy by existing management, led by editor James Willse, who became interim publisher after buying the paper from Tribune. Mort Zuckerman bought the paper in 1993.
From its founding until 1991, the Daily News was owned by the Tribune Company. In 1948 The News established WPIX (Channel 11 in New York City), whose call letters were based on The News' nickname of New York's Picture Newspaper; and later bought what became WPIX-FM, which is now known as WFAN-FM. The television station became a Tribune property outright in 1991 and remains in the former Daily News Building; the radio station was purchased by Emmis Communications, and since 2014 is owned by CBS Radio.
The News also maintains local bureaux in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, at City Hall, within One Police Plaza, and at the various state and federal courthouses in the city.
In January 2012, former News of the World and New York Post editor Colin Myler was appointed editor-in-chief of the Daily News. Myler was replaced by his deputy Jim Rich in September 2015.
Editorial stance and style
The New York Times has reported that the Daily News has consistently "occupied an inimitable niche, speaking to and for the city's working class and offering a schizophrenic mix of titillating crime reportage and hard-hitting coverage of public issues. ... [R]ather than portraying New York through the partisan divide between liberals and conservatives, The News has played up the more mythic rift between the city’s fiends and heroes."
The Daily News's editorial stance is "flexibly centrist" with a populist streak. In presidential elections, the paper endorsed Republican George W. Bush in 2004, Democrat Barack Obama in 2008, Republican Mitt Romney in 2012, and Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
From its founding, it was based at 23 Park Place, a block from City Hall, and two blocks from Park Row, the traditional home of the city's newspaper trade. The cramped conditions demanded a much larger space for the growing newspaper.
From 1929 to 1995, the Daily News was based in the landmark skyscraper at 220 East 42nd Street near Second Avenue, designed by John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood. The paper moved to 450 West 33rd Street in 1995, but the 42nd Street location is still known as The News Building and still features a giant globe and weather instruments in its lobby. (It was the model for the Daily Planet building of the first two Superman films). The former News subsidiary WPIX-TV remains in the building.
The third headquarters of the Daily News at 450 West 33rd Street straddled the railroad tracks going into Pennsylvania Station. The building is now the world headquarters of the Associated Press.
In June 2011, the paper moved its operations to two floors at 4 New York Plaza in lower Manhattan. Sixteen months later, the structure was severely damaged and rendered uninhabitable by flooding from Hurricane Sandy. In the immediate aftermath, news operations were conducted remotely from several temporary locations, eventually moving to office space at the Jersey City printing plant. In early 2013, operations moved to rented space at 1290 Avenue of the Americas near Rockefeller Center—just four blocks north of its rival New York Post. The staff returned to the permanent 4 New York Plaza location in early November 2013.
In 1993, the Daily News consolidated its printing facilities near Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey.
In 2009, the paper spent $150 million on printing presses as part of its move to full color.
In 2011, the company spent $100 million to buy three new presses, using a $41.7 million Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit from the State of New Jersey.
The Daily News has won ten Pulitzer Prizes over its history.
In 1998, Daily News columnist Mike McAlary won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for his multi-part series of columns (published in 1997) on Abner Louima, who was sodomized and tortured by New York City police officers.
In 2007, the News won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for a series of thirteen editorials, published over five months, that detailed how more than 12,000 rescue workers who responded after the September 11 attacks and become ill from toxins in the air. The Pulitzer citation said that the award was given to the paper "for its compassionate and compelling editorials on behalf of Ground Zero workers, whose health problems were neglected by the city and the nation."
Noteworthy front pages
In 1928, a News reporter strapped a small camera to his leg, and shot a photo of Ruth Snyder being executed in the electric chair. The next day's newspaper carried the headline "DEAD!".
On October 29, 1975, President Gerald Ford gave a speech denying federal assistance to spare New York City from bankruptcy. The front page of the October 30, 1975 Daily News read: “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD.”
In the year leading up to the 2016 presidential election, the paper's headlines became more provocative, helping to rejuvenate it and, with more opinionated editorials with the aforementioned headlines, once again demonstrate its place in the city's media.
Following the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, in which fourteen people were killed, the paper's front page displayed "GOD ISN'T FIXING THIS" along with tweets from Republican politicians offering thoughts and prayers. The paper advocated for tighter gun laws, condemning what it described as "empty platitudes and angry rhetoric" rather than action "in response to the ongoing plague of gun violence in our country." The provocative headline received both praise and criticism.
On January 2016, after Republican senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz of Texas disparaged "New York values" in a Republican primary debate, the News responded with a cover page headline reading "DROP DEAD, TED" and showing the Statue of Liberty giving the middle finger.