Founded on January 28, 1878, the Yale Daily News is the oldest college daily newspaper in the United States. The News serves the communities of Yale and New Haven, publishing a print edition every weekday during the academic year, as well as a weekly Friday supplement and several special issues. YDN is financially and editorially independent from the university. Its past student editors and writers have gone on to prominent careers in journalism and public life, including William F. Buckley, Lan Samantha Chang, John Hersey, Joseph Lieberman, Sargent Shriver, and Garry Trudeau.
In the 1920s, when the paper was first launched as Illustrated Daily News, the tabloid attracted readers with sensational crime and scandal coverage, lurid photographs, and cartoons, and by emphasizing political wrongdoing and social intrigue (such as the romance between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII that precipitated the abdication of the latter). The News has a moderate-to-liberal bias and is often contrasted with the conservative New York Post.
The News is currently owned by Tronc, which acquired the newspaper from Zuckerman in 2017. Tronc was purchased by Alden Global Capital in 2021. Alden has consolidated newsrooms and reduced staffing, and is implementing changes to overtime pay, among other things, without bargaining with the union. Journalists have voted to strike in protest.
Versions of this troubling story are playing out in towns and cities across America, as ‘news deserts’ proliferate and local journalism declines. Andrew Conte’s deeply reported study of what happens in a community when its newspaper dies is an invaluable contribution to the ongoing debate about the future of news media and democracy. This is a book that every citizen should read.