The Daily News

Founded in 1919 by Joseph Medill Patterson and originally published as the Illustrated Daily News, the New York Daily News was America’s first successful tabloid newspaper. The paper quickly became a leader in sensational reporting, attracting readers with lurid photographs and coverage of crime, scandal, and violence. It also emphasized political wrongdoing, such as the Teapot Dome Scandal, and social intrigue, such as the romance between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII that led to their abdication. The News was an early user of Associated Press wirephoto service and developed a large staff of photographers.

The paper’s success spawned several imitators, including the Philadelphia Sun and the Chicago Tribune. By the late 1950s, the News was the top-selling newspaper in the United States. It was also one of the most influential papers in the world, with many of its stories being quoted by other newspapers and even influencing popular culture, such as the Daily Planet, the name of Superman’s home planet in the comic strip of the same name.

In the 1970s, the newspaper suffered from its first major loss in circulation. The decline was exacerbated by a multi-union strike that lasted almost three months. The loss in readership was largely due to price hikes and production problems, but it may have also been caused by the growing competition from a more sophisticated competitor, the New York Times.

The newspaper began to lose ground in the early 1980s, but it continued to be highly influential and was viewed as one of the most serious of the tabloids. In 1989, the News was sold to publisher Mort Zuckerman. His plan was to reposition the Daily News as a “serious” news paper, with increased emphasis on politics and crime and reduced emphasis on celebrity gossip and other entertainment sections. To achieve this, he made big changes in the paper’s editorial structure and in the staff and launched a campaign to raise advertising rates.

By the end of 1993, the Daily News was operating at a profit again and had recaptured its position as the top-selling newspaper in the nation.

In 2021, an anonymous Yale College alumnus made a generous gift to the Yale Library in support of the Daily News Historical Archive project. This funding enabled the archive to be migrated from the original print format and will help ensure its ongoing maintenance and preservation.

The archive contains more than 18 million searchable pages from the Daily News, dating back to its founding in 1919. The archive includes the full text of the newspaper, as well as images, classified ads, cartoons, and a wide variety of other features. The Yale Daily News Historical Archive is available free to the public. The archive is curated by the Yale Daily News Archive Team.