The Daily News – The Eyes and Ears, the Honest Voice of New York

Founded in 1919, the daily news was the first successful tabloid newspaper in the United States. It became a dominant force in the city during the Roaring Twenties and, at one point, was the country’s biggest newspaper with 2.4 million daily circulation. Its success was fueled by sensational and titillating stories, as well as large photographs and reader contests. It also focused on political wrongdoing, including the Teapot Dome scandal and social intrigue, such as the romance between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII that led to his abdication. In the early 1930s, the News was an early user of the Associated Press wirephoto service and employed a staff of photographers. The newspaper also published a popular weekly columnist, Ed Sullivan, who later hosted the Ed Sullivan Show on CBS. By 1947, the Daily News reached its peak circulation and was the most widely read newspaper in America. The New York Daily News was located in the famous art deco Daily News Building on 42nd Street and Second Avenue, which was designed by architects John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood. The building was later used for television production and is now the headquarters of WPIX-TV.

In 1975, the Daily News rolled out what would become its most famous headline in its 56-year history. After President Gerald Ford had delivered a speech the day before vetoing a bankruptcy bail-out for New York, the front page of the October 30th edition bore a headline that read: “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD.” The News had no idea that such a scathing attack on the president, delivered just prior to his 1976 presidential election, would help him lose to Jimmy Carter.

The Daily News remained a staunch Republican publication until the 1980s, when it began to shift to a more flexible centrist stance. By the late 1970s, the paper had begun to be referred to as the “The Eyes and Ears, the Honest Voice of New York.” The Daily News has a reputation for being able to break big city stories that other newspapers cannot or will not, and it has often cited its storied investigative capabilities as being the reason for its success.

In the early 1980s, the Daily News was losing about $115 million per year, largely due to its labor costs. As a result, the paper began to cut back on salaries and benefits for its staff, and many longtime employees were forced to retire. In 1983, the Daily News lost its monopoly on the city’s most valuable advertising space when the New York Post and The Times announced that they were going to begin selling their own ads. The Daily News responded by attempting to recruit advertisers from outside of the city, a move that ultimately failed. By the beginning of the 1980s, the newspaper was losing a million dollars per month and was facing an uncertain future. In 1987, the newspaper was sold to its current owners, Tronc, for a mere $1.

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