Death of the Daily News

The Daily News is an American newspaper founded in 1878 that covers the Yale University community and beyond. The paper has been financially and editorially independent since its founding and is the oldest college daily in the United States. The News is published Monday through Friday during the academic year and produces special issues each semester celebrating Indigenous, Black, Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in collaboration with Yale’s cultural centers and affiliated student groups. The News is known for its intense city news coverage, celebrity gossip, classified ads and a sports section. The News also has a long history of using photography to convey important news events to its readers. The paper’s early photos are renowned and include a series of photographs that captured the fall of the Berlin Wall, and footage from Nelson Mandela’s hiding in a laundry cart and his coronation.

The News has had many editorial stances throughout its long history. From the 1920s through the 1950s, it was a staunchly conservative newspaper that supported isolationism during World War II and espoused conservative populism afterward. From the 1970s through the 1990s, the News shifted its focus and became more moderately liberal. In recent decades, the News has been an advocate for progressive policies and has been seen as a counterweight to the more conservative New York Post.

Technology has massively disrupted the journalism industry, putting thousands of journalists out of work and closing newsrooms. The loss of local newspapers has left vast areas without traditional sources of news, or what are now called “news deserts.” In Death of the Daily News, Andrew Conte chronicles the harrowing story of how one such a desert, McKeesport, Pennsylvania, lost its newspaper in 2015 and struggles to make sense of its own life under a diminished light.

Conte’s deeply reported book offers a stark warning of the societal consequences of the loss of local news and describes how the citizens of McKeesport are attempting to fill the void by becoming their own gatekeepers of information, often with disastrous results. A perceptive and empathetic study of an important issue, Death of the Daily News is an essential read for anyone concerned about the future of journalism and the health of our democracy.