Yale Daily News

The Yale Daily News (YDN) is the nation’s oldest college newspaper. The News publishes Monday through Friday during the academic year and serves Yale and the surrounding communities of New Haven, Connecticut. The News also publishes the YDN Magazine and several special issues each year, including the Yale-Harvard Game Day Issue, the Commencement Issue and the First Year Issue. In addition, the Yale Daily News Historical Archive provides access to digitized versions of printed issues of the newspaper dating back over 140 years.

The Daily News was founded in 1919 by Joseph Medill Patterson, who was publisher of the Chicago Tribune at the time. The newspaper quickly found a niche for itself with sensational pictorial coverage of events and scandals such as political wrongdoing, like the Teapot Dome Scandal and social intrigue like Wallis Simpson’s romance with King Edward VIII that led to his abdication. The News was an early user of the Associated Press wirephoto service and developed a large staff of photographers.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the paper also found success with a more populist tone. The News was able to capitalize on the massive interest in the Civil Rights Movement by devoting a large amount of space to the movement and focusing on African Americans as well as whites who supported it. This helped the News achieve its highest readership ever in 1976 with over a million readers, but it was not enough to sustain the paper’s profitability.

By the mid-1980s, the Daily News was losing money and in danger of extinction. The influx of new media in the early 21st century further threatened its financial viability, but the emergence of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate gave the paper an opportunity to reclaim its prominence by harking back to its provocative roots. The rebranding campaign saw the News give the Republican senator Ted Cruz the middle finger with an image of his hand on the Statue of Liberty and rehashing its most famous headline in response to a Ford veto of a city bankruptcy bailout, “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD”.

After the 1987 bankruptcy, the Daily News was bought by Mort Zuckerman for $36 million, less than half the amount that had been offered by Conrad Black, founder of Hollinger Inc., which owned the Chicago Sun-Times and Britain’s Daily Telegraph. Zuckerman made a series of big changes, such as investing $60 million towards color presses and dropping its long-held conservative leanings. He also introduced the slogans “The Eyes, The Ears, The Honest Voice of New York” and “The most New York you can get”.

In 1996, the News won a Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary for E.R. Shipp’s pieces on race, welfare and social issues, and again in 1998 for Mike McAlary’s reporting of police brutality against Haitian immigrant Abner Louima. During the 1990s, the News was known as a champion of the First Amendment and for its commitment to protecting the rights of marginalized groups.