The Daily News

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The Daily News, the world’s first newspaper, was founded in 1919 by Joseph Medill Patterson in New York City as the Illustrated Daily News, which billed itself as “New York’s pictorial daily newspaper.” In 1921, it moved from Park Place to 220 East 42nd Street, a 36-story freestanding Art Deco building designed by John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood that would later serve as inspiration for the Daily Planet building in the Superman movies.

At its peak, the Daily News had a circulation of 2.4 million daily and 4.7 million on Sundays, making it the nation’s largest newspaper at that time. It was renowned for its photographic coverage of the Second World War, as well as its snazzy front page headlines, including one congratulating American soldiers on their victory in Europe that proclaimed, “EVERYBODY SAYS HELLO TO OUR JUSTICE MEN.”

As its readership diminished in the 1970s and 1980s, the Daily News yielded to union demands regarding rules, job numbers and overtime—which led to its first-ever deficit in 1982. By the end of the decade, the tabloid was losing $1 million a month. In 1989, Tribune Company put the Daily News up for sale, and publisher Mort Zuckerman, owner of The Atlantic magazine, won a bidding war with Conrad Black—who was also the founder of Hollinger Inc., the publishing conglomerate that owned both the Chicago Sun-Times and Britain’s Daily Telegraph—over the price of $60 million.

In the 1990s, Zuckerman made several big changes to the Daily News in an attempt to rediscover its earning potential and reposition it as a serious tabloid. He invested $60 million towards color presses, enabling the News to match the visual quality of USA Today—the largest daily newspaper in the country at the time. He also renamed the paper “The New York Daily News” and began hiring staff who favored straight-news reporting rather than the titillating tabloid fare that had been its trademark.

However, by the beginning of the 21st century, no printed newspaper could escape the rise of the internet and digital-only competitors. As circulation continued to decline, the Daily News went on a firing spree that ultimately left it with just 45 editorial staff members—down from 400 in its heyday in the 1980s. The following year, Tronc purchased the newspaper for just $1.