The Death of the Daily News

Daily News

In its heyday, the New York Daily News was one of the most popular newspapers in the United States. It was a tabloid, a genre of paper that relies on sensational subject matter and lurid photographs to attract readers. The Daily News also focused on political wrongdoing such as the Teapot Dome Scandal and social intrigue like the romance between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII that contributed to his abdication. The Daily News was an early adopter of the Associated Press wirephoto service and maintained a large staff of photographers.

In the 1920s, the Daily News grew into a newspaper empire. It became the first successful tabloid in the country and attracted readers with sensational coverage of crime, scandal, and violence, as well as celebrity gossip and other entertainment features. Its prominence was reinforced when it moved to a larger office building in Manhattan at 450 West 33rd Street, which straddled the railroad tracks that led into Pennsylvania Station. The Daily News was a significant contributor to the development of American tabloid journalism, but it soon lost its circulation lead to competing rivals such as the New York Post and its even more sensational sister publication, the Daily Mirror.

As local newspapers continue to decline in circulation, communities are struggling to find ways to get the information they need and to separate fact from fiction on their own. This is a profound and deeply disturbing trend that threatens the very foundation of democracy.

In Death of the Daily News, journalist Andrew Conte offers a fascinating and necessary anatomy of what happens to a town when its newspaper dies. Through the lens of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, he shows how residents struggle to make sense of what’s going on in their community and to distinguish news from the gossip that fills social media. He also shows how some citizens are stepping up to become their own gatekeepers of information and provides guidance for how the industry can survive.

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