For more than 130 years, Yale Daily News has been the primary source of news and debate on campus. It is the oldest college newspaper in the United States and has produced many prominent journalists and public figures, including William F. Buckley, Lan Samantha Chang, Joseph Lieberman, John Hersey, Sargent Shriver, Garry Trudeau, and Strobe Talbott.
The newspaper’s early history includes several incarnations. It was founded in 1923 as the Illustrated Daily News by Cornelius Vanderbilt IV; it was sold to Manchester Boddy shortly afterward, and he operated the paper through most of its existence. The News began a long struggle with its rival, the New York Post, over circulation; it was at one point nearly wiped out by its more sensational tabloid competitors. Throughout its life, the Daily News was known for its flamboyance and style; it used large photographs and featured intense city news coverage, celebrity gossip, classified ads, comics, sports, and opinion sections.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the Daily News adopted a more centrist stance, eschewing the extremes of left or right. At the same time, its newsrooms remained notoriously small and inefficient. As technology disrupted American journalism, thousands of reporters were laid off and local newspapers shut down, leaving vast areas without a single traditional news source. The loss of a local newspaper in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, is emblematic of the widespread decline of traditional journalism in America.
Despite the declining fortunes of the paper, its editors continued to seek out sensational headlines. In 1975, the News grabbed headlines with its ominous front-page screamer, “Ford to City: Drop Dead.” The News also became famous for its investigative reporting; in 1984, it broke the story of an unlicensed limousine driver who killed 15 people and injured 62.
The Daily News was bought by Tronc, a Chicago-based media company, in 2017. The News has since been reduced to a four-day print edition, and its website is available online only. Its website features a “newsroom” that is staffed by journalists and features a variety of articles, including politics, crime, and entertainment.
The News’s current owner, the hedge fund Alden Capital, has imposed a number of buyouts and cuts since taking control of the newspaper last year. As a result, the newspaper has been losing money and staff members at a rapid rate. The Daily News has also been reduced in size and its printing plant outsourced. The newspaper’s future remains uncertain. The News is attempting to remain independent while embracing digital platforms, and it has established a new editorial director who is credited with improving the quality of its news coverage. In addition, the Daily News has begun to hire writers who specialize in local stories. However, if the paper can’t become profitable, it may be forced to close. The newspaper has a readership base in excess of 1 million. In an attempt to attract readers, the Daily News has redesigned its website and begun offering a paid subscription service.