In what can be considered a sign of the times, the New York Daily News, which has been published since 1919, was sold on Monday to the publishing company Tronc. Publisher of both the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, Tronc reportedly purchased the Daily for only $1.
While the price tag might be surprising for many, the true cost of the purchase lies in the debt that Tronc will be assuming by making the purchase. As the era of digital news has drawn on, the Daily News has found itself struggling to keep pace and has acquired millions in debts. By purchasing the Daily News, Tronc will be taking on those debts and be responsible for making repayments.
Although a practical move for the Daily News, the sale is yet another sign of the times. Newspaper profits have struggled in an era when the news is delivered faster through the internet and social media. However, the Daily News’ competition hasn’t come only from online media, but also from its local rival, the New York Post.
The sale marks the end of over 20 years of ownership by real estate developer Mortimer B. Zuckerman, whose political influence could be felt through the paper’s catchy headlines. The Daily News often championed the causes of the city’s working class, and the paper’s front page was often covered in bold proclamations and stirring imagery.
This past year, the paper shared in a Pulitzer Prize for covering the abuse of eviction rules in New York City by the police department. At the national level, the paper has been unafraid to criticize President Donald Trump at almost every turn.
The future direction of the paper is uncertain, but the change in ownership seemed inevitable. Over the last few years, the paper’s circulation declined from over 2 million to just a few hundred thousand. Meanwhile, the staff shrunk notably even as the paper was trying to compete against both the New York Post and online competition. However, the Daily News may benefit from being part of the larger Tronc brand. The acquisition means Tronc will now control publications in each of the country’s three top media markets.
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