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In a story that was headline-worthy even before the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Daily News announced in an email to staff Wednesday that it is closing its physical newsroom at 4 New York Plaza in Manhattan, the city’s iconic tabloid building designed by John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood. The newsroom was the last of four that Tribune Publishing, owner of The News and other newspapers including The Chicago Tribune and Orlando Sentinel, operates.
The newspaper said it would continue to publish online and through its mobile app. However, the move comes amid an ongoing dispute between Tribune and its private equity investor, Alden Global Capital, over control of the company. The hedge fund has enacted buyouts, cuts and outsourced printing since taking over the company last year.
While the Daily News has struggled, its website has been one of the most visited in the newspaper industry, and a number of alumni from the paper have gone on to careers in journalism and public life. It is the oldest college daily newspaper in the United States, founded on January 28, 1878, and served Yale University and the city of New Haven for more than 140 years. It has also been a source of political debate and has served as the primary news and opinion outlet for students at the university.
For decades the Daily News has been locked in a circulation battle with its more sensational rival, the New York Post, but it remained among the top-selling newspapers in the country and a staple for many New Yorkers. But as the news business shifted to the internet, the newspaper’s advertising revenue dried up and it began losing readers. In 2017, Zuckerman, who had owned the Daily News for almost 30 years, sold it to Tronc.
As the Daily News shutters its offices, a few journalists are still working to find ways to survive in the new media landscape. Their efforts, documented in Death of the Daily News, offer a rich, fascinating and necessary anatomy of what happens when a town loses its newspaper and how some people are trying to build a different kind of local journalism.