The Daily News

Daily News

Daily News was the first newspaper in the world to be printed in tabloid format. Founded in 1919 by Joseph Medill Patterson, it initially attracted readers with sensational stories of crime and scandal, lurid photographs, and other entertainment features. But after the Great Depression, Patterson decided to shift the paper’s focus to politics and national affairs.

The News aimed to fight for New York City’s working-class citizens, whom it saw as a distinct class from the wealthy. It would entertain them, empathize with them, assist them, and battle their perceived enemies, which the paper referred to as “The Establishment.”

At the same time, the News had no problem attacking the establishment itself. Its editorial page railed against bureaucrats, diplomats, taxes, regulation, Communism, and other supposedly corrupt and self-serving elements of society. It was in this sense that the Daily News was different from its conservative contemporaries, such as William F. Buckley’s National Review, which was intellectual and interventionist.

Throughout its history, the newspaper’s writers and editors tried to make the paper both entertaining and informative. The News offered an in-depth look at local issues and the lives of its people, while also covering national events and offering a variety of opinion pieces. The News had a large circulation during its heyday, with daily sales often topping 2 million copies. Its Sunday edition was also a major seller, with circulation peaking around 3 million in the early 1940s.

At its height, the News was considered to be one of the most influential papers in the United States. But despite its huge circulation, it was widely held that the newspaper had little actual political influence. Even some of the News’s own journalists felt this way. In an oral history interview, the long-time Washington correspondent Frank Holeman recalled that when he was once asked to explain the News’s enormous influence, he responded, “Everybody loves the Goddamn Daily News except the goddamn readers.”

In the twenty-first century, the News continues to publish and has been a frequent winner of Pulitzer Prizes for public service journalism, including its coverage of police abuses of eviction rules this year. Although the News has shifted far leftward from its conservative roots, it retains an audience among New York’s working-class population.

We thank an anonymous Yale College alumnus for their generous gift, which enables the ongoing work of the Archive and will support the creation of a digital version of the News. We also gratefully acknowledge the financial support of other donors to the Archive’s ongoing operations and development.

The Yale Daily News Historical Archive is funded by the Friends of the Library of Congress and other private donors. The Archive is a project of the Yale University Library. For more information about the Library’s collections and services, visit its website.

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