A brawny metropolitan tabloid once famous for exposing crime and corruption, the Daily News has been around in one form or another for more than a century. The newspaper’s 20th-century heyday made it an inspiration for The Daily Planet, the feisty tabloid inhabited by Clark Kent and Lois Lane in the first two Superman films. The News has won Pulitzer Prizes for editorial writing, commentaries and international reporting, among others. Its journalism can be seen in a wide array of public libraries and museums.
In a move that would have been unthinkable before the coronavirus pandemic, Tribune Publishing, the Chicago newspaper chain that owns The News, announced Wednesday that it was closing its New York City newsroom for good. The company said it was also shutting offices for its suburban newspapers in Carroll County, Md., and Annapolis, Md., a town that two years ago was the scene of tragedy when a gunman fatally shot five journalists in their office. It isn’t clear if those offices will reopen, or what other homes the newspapers will have to find.
The News has been in financial trouble for decades. Its longtime owner, Mortimer Zuckerman, sold the paper to Tronc in 2017 for $1.
During its heyday in the 1920s, The News was known for its investigative journalism, including revealing wrongdoing by city government officials and the romance between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII that led to the latter’s abdication. The News had a robust news and features section, extensive celebrity coverage and even a comics page.
It was a big-city tabloid with intense local news coverage, big pictures and classified ads. The newspaper had a reputation for being fearless, and its staff was often credited with making the city safer for residents. It was a newspaper that many readers couldn’t imagine their lives without.
In its recent history, the newspaper suffered from declining revenue and a decline in the number of people who read it. In its heyday, The News had the highest weekday circulation of any daily newspaper in the United States. But over the last several years, readership has been in decline as people have turned to other sources for their daily news.
The Times’s parent company, Tribune Publishing, is in the midst of a shakeup that could see its ownership changed. A hedge fund, Alden Global Capital, has bought up nearly one-third of the publicly traded shares in the media giant and three of its seven board seats. It has been offering buyouts to journalists and imposing furloughs as it seeks to cut costs. The move is part of a larger strategy by the fund to consolidate its holdings and increase the value of its newspaper assets. Alden’s actions have prompted employees of some Tribune Publishing papers to launch campaigns to ask local benefactors to step in and “save” their publications.