Death of the Daily News

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As America struggles with its rapidly expanding network of “news deserts,” local newspapers are being forced to reinvent themselves in ways that will shape our future. Death of the Daily News, a searching and deeply reported look at what happens when a town loses its local newspaper, is an important contribution to this vital discussion.

The story of what happened to the Daily News in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, is a fascinating one. Despite the fact that its own future is now uncertain, the book is ultimately hopeful, as it shows how citizens can become gatekeepers of news in their communities and begin to replace what the newspapers have left behind.

From its founding in 1919 as the Illustrated Daily News, and later the New York Daily News, the paper was among the first to be able to attract a large readership by focusing on sensational crime and scandal. It specialized in the pursuit of corruption and social intrigue, notably the Teapot Dome scandal and the romance between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII, and emphasized lurid photography, cartoons and other entertainment features.

In addition to the news and feature stories, Daily News published a wealth of public records data on real estate, lawsuits, tax liens, business licenses, deeds, property sales and other legal matters, as well as municipal and county government information such as building permits and utility connections. This information was available through subscriptions to the paper’s microfiche database, which could be purchased by businesses and individuals.

The Daily News also published an extensive calendar of events and a directory of businesses, and its advertising department was especially successful in reaching the working class. The paper also devoted substantial space to social commentary, editorials, and a wide variety of opinion pieces.

The last edition of the Daily News was published on September 16, 2015. The building that housed it from 1929 to 1995, a landmark designed by John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood, now houses the headquarters of NBC Universal and is known as Manhattan West. A statue of the newspaper stands outside its former 42nd Street location. Its sister daily, the Associated Press, still has its world headquarters in that building. The company has launched a website to help its customers with their local media needs, and the Daily News app is available for Apple and Android devices. The website allows subscribers to customize their reading experience by selecting the sections they want to read and can also download the entire newspaper for offline viewing. They can also create custom playlists and share their favorite stories via social media.