The Daily News

A daily newspaper in New York City, the Daily News was the first successful tabloid in the United States. It reached its peak circulation in 1947, when it sold 2.4 million copies per day. Founded in 1919 as the Illustrated Daily News, it took on the name of the Daily News in 1920 and soon established a reputation for sensational coverage of crime, scandal, and violence. The newspaper also became known for its lurid photographs, which helped it to distinguish itself from competitors. It was the first newspaper to publish an image of a woman being executed in the electric chair, and its front page picture of Ruth Snyder mid-electrocution would be later used as the inspiration for the Daily Planet character in the Superman franchise.

The paper has long been in a competitive relationship with the competing New York Post, but in the 1980s it began losing money. The loss increased when labor unions at the Daily News went on strike, and the newspaper was forced to replace striking workers with non-union employees. During this period the paper was also facing competition from other media sources, such as cable TV and radio, which had begun to offer more comprehensive and in-depth coverage of local news events.

In 1991, controversial British media mogul Robert Maxwell purchased the Daily News. He invested $60 million in color presses and repositioned the paper as a “serious tabloid,” with the goal of restoring its earning potential. The strategy paid off, and by 1993 the Daily News was again profitable.

The newspaper also gained a reputation for its strong coverage of social issues and defending the rights of people who were not traditionally represented in the media. This included exposing police corruption and winning Pulitzer Prizes for editorial pieces by E.R. Shipp and Mike McAlary.

Today, the Daily News continues to operate as a morning tabloid newspaper with a wide range of coverage. Its circulation is significantly lower than it was in its heyday, but it remains one of the country’s largest-selling newspapers.

Each Daily News article includes comprehension and critical thinking questions, found below the story. Each question is accompanied by background and resources to help students understand the topic of the article. These articles also provide a link to the full text of the article.

The Yale Daily News Historical Archive is the oldest college newspaper in the United States, and it provides an extensive resource for students studying journalism and the history of American press. The archive contains issues from the year 1879 to the present, and it features contributions by many distinguished writers and figures, including William F. Buckley, Lan Samantha Chang, John Hersey, Sargent Shriver, Strobe Talbott, Jacob Weisberg, and more. In 2021, an anonymous Yale alumnus made a substantial gift to support the preservation and ongoing development of this important resource. For more information on the archives and how to use it, see the Yale Daily News website.