Death of the Daily News

Daily News

In its 20th-century heyday, the Daily News was a brawny metro tabloid that thrived on crime and corruption. It was the model for The Daily Planet, the paper of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, and won Pulitzer Prizes in commentary and feature writing. In recent years, however, the newspaper has struggled to compete with online news outlets and a decline in advertising revenue.

In this deeply reported book, Andrew Conte takes us to McKeesport, Pennsylvania, to discover what happens when a community loses its local newspaper and, ultimately, its public discourse. He examines what societal ripple effects such a loss can have, and his findings are troubling.

For more than 130 years, the Yale Daily News has been the primary source of news and debate at Yale University. Many of the paper’s student editors, writers, and contributors have gone on to prominent careers in journalism and public life. Today, the Yale Daily News is the oldest college daily still in publication, and its archives provide an unparalleled window into America’s history of political activism, social change, and cultural transformation.

The Yale Daily News Historical Archive is now available in a new and improved platform. An anonymous Yale alumnus made a major gift to fund the upgrade and ongoing maintenance of this important resource, which allows users to access digitized copies of all Daily News issues from 1996 to present.

On Oct. 3, in a move that was unthinkable even before the coronavirus pandemic, Tribune Publishing announced it was closing its newsroom in New York City, where The Daily News once had one of the nation’s largest circulations. The company, which also owns the Chicago Tribune and Orlando Sentinel, has been undergoing a dramatic makeover since being sold to a cost-slashing hedge fund in 2017.

Amid these wrenching changes, employees of The Daily News—and other newspapers owned by Tribune Publishing—have pushed back with buyout offers, protests, plans for multicity rallies, and written pleas for help.

The death of a local newspaper would be depressing in anyone’s hands, but in Death of the Daily News, Andrew Conte writes with insight and compassion about what happens when a town loses its voice. He explores a troubling topic with an approach that will appeal to ordinary readers as well as scholars, and he leaves us with hope that the future of local news can be brighter than we think. This is a must-read for anyone who cares about democracy and the health of our communities.