The Daily News

For over a century, the Daily News has been one of the largest and most influential newspapers in the United States. Founded in 1919, it was the brainchild of Joseph Medill Patterson, publisher of the Chicago Tribune. Patterson had a problem: his newspaper was being run by a group of union workers who were thwarting his efforts to present his editorial positions on many issues. Rather than allow the conflict to cause a split, he decided to create a new paper in New York City, one that would be aggressively pro-America and especially pro-New York.

The paper found an immediate audience on the city’s subway system, where it could reach millions of commuters every day. Its tabloid size and layout, along with a focus on titillating and sensational stories, allowed it to penetrate a market that was largely unserved by the competition. The newspaper quickly became known for its large photographs and sensational headlines, ranging from political wrongdoing like the Teapot Dome scandal to social intrigue such as Wallis Simpson’s romance with King Edward VIII that led to his abdication.

While the News was often controversial, it was also highly profitable and a model for other newspapers. By the end of the 1920s, its circulation had topped 1.5 million. In 1928, the newspaper built its headquarters at 220 East 42nd Street in Manhattan, a 36-story freestanding Art Deco structure designed by Raymond Hood and John Mead Howells. The building is an official city and national landmark, and is the inspiration for the Daily Planet Building in the Superman movies.

By the 1980s, however, the News was struggling. In 1982, its parent company, the Tribune Company, put the newspaper up for sale. A bidding war ensued between The Atlantic owner Mort Zuckerman and Conrad Black, founder of Hollinger Inc., which owned the Chicago Sun-Times and Britain’s Daily Telegraph. The News was eventually sold to Zuckerman for $36 million, less than half the amount offered by Black.

By the 1990s, the Daily News was a respected and influential publication with a reputation for protecting the First Amendment and the rights of people in New York City, particularly those who were underserved by other media sources. The newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for E.R. Shipp’s pieces on race and welfare, and again in 1998 for Mike McAlary’s coverage of police brutality against Haitian immigrant Abner Louima. The News also earned a reputation for its hard-hitting investigative work on corruption in public life and the city’s municipal government. Each Daily News article contains comprehension and critical thinking questions, and “Background” and “Resources” (including videos, maps and links) are included to help students learn more about the story.

By adminssk
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