By Michael Larkin,
Money and Investing Writer
The New York Daily News, considered to be the heart of New York journalism, was acquired by Tronc, a Chicago-based publishing company.
The deal consisted of a $1 price tag and the assumption of all of The Daily News’ liabilities, both operational and pension. This acquisition makes The Daily News a part of Tronc’s already impressive lineup of nine other daily publications which include the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times.
Tronc seeks to use the Pulitzer Prize-winning status of The Daily News as well as their popular website to accelerate into the digital age. Despite assuming liabilities of over $30 million, Tronc saw this as an opportunity to combat growing digital competition and a chance to revitalize newspaper circulation. By adding 24 million unique users from nydailynews.com on a monthly basis, Tronc now boasts a total unique visitor count of over 80 million a month.
Back in 1993, billionaire Mort Zuckerman saved The Daily News from going under where he took the tabloid and made it a success. Under his ownership, the paper received 5 of its 11 Pulitzer Prizes and provided years of quality journalism for the city of New York.
While with its most recent move the company has turned away from its original structure of a single owner, The Daily News is now a part of a publicly traded corporation which will be a win-win for both Tronc and The Daily News.
The CEO of Tronc, Justin Dearborn, wishes to uphold The Daily News quality and mentions that this acquisition will have no effect on how it is written. Dearborn had an interest in the New York market and he felt that The Daily News was the perfect candidate to get their foot into that area. Along with The Daily News, Tronc was looking at other high-profile publishing companies like the Chicago Sun-Times in order to spread their influence even further; The Daily News just happens to be the first step in the new approach.
While the newspaper industry is a bit sluggish, The Daily News has still been in the top 10 of the nation’s newspaper companies with around 200,000 copies bought daily. Even with this amount of sales, The Daily News has not been profitable for years whether it is due to a customer’s lack of interest in newspapers as a whole or because of competition.
Regardless, Dearborn sees opportunity in The Daily News and sees potential to finally bring profit into the positives.
For good reason too, as The Daily News has a long lasting legacy in the journalism industry since 1919 and could have potentially lasted, under Zuckerman, even without Tronc’s acquisition. Holding powerful slogans such as the “World’s Greatest Newspaper” as well as “New York’s Hometown Newspaper”, it proved to be just that. Zuckerman has high hopes for The Daily News under Tronc and he feels it will uphold The Daily News’ legacy of producing Pulitzer-prize winning journalism.
Dearborn mentions that this is just the start to a long process of mergers and acquisitions. He wants to take the digital journalism sector by storm and he believes The Daily News is a great start. An opportunity was seized and Tronc will now reap the benefits of adding yet another star journalism company to its already popular cast.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, September 12th print edition.
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