Newsday logo in 2009
Newsday logo in 2007

Newsday is an American daily newspaper that primarily serves Nassau and Suffolk counties and the New York City borough of Queens on Long Island, although it is sold throughout the New York metropolitan area. As of 2009, its weekday circulation of 377,500 was the 11th-highest in the United States, and the highest among suburban newspapers. In 2012, Newsday expanded to include Rockland and Westchester county news on its website. As of January 2014, Newsday's total average circulation was 437,000 on weekdays, 434,000 on Saturdays and 495,000 on Sundays.

The newspaper's headquarters is in Melville, New York, in Suffolk County.

History

Founded by T. Harold Forbes as the Nassau County Journal in Hempstead in 1939, Mr. Forbes sold the paper to Alicia Patterson—the daughter of Joseph Medill Patterson, founder of the New York Daily News—with backing from her husband, Harry Guggenheim. The new publication was first produced on September 3, 1940 from Hempstead. For many years until a major redesign in the 1970s, Newsday copied the Daily News format of short stories and lots of pictures (Ironically, Patterson was fired as a writer at her father's Daily News in her early 20s, after getting the basic facts of a divorce wrong in a published report). After Patterson's death in 1963, Guggenheim became publisher and editor.

In 1967, Guggenheim turned over the publisher position to Bill Moyers and continued as president and editor-in-chief. But Guggenheim was disappointed by the liberal drift of the newspaper under Moyers, criticizing what he called the "left-wing" coverage of Vietnam War protests. The two split over the 1968 presidential election, with Guggenheim signing an editorial supporting Richard Nixon, when Moyers supported Hubert Humphrey.

Guggenheim sold his majority share to the then-conservative Times-Mirror Company over the attempt of newspaper employees to block the sale, even though Moyers offered $10 million more than the Times-Mirror purchase price; Moyers resigned a few days later. Guggenheim, who died a year later, disinherited Moyers from his will.

After the competing Long Island Press (not to be confused with the alternative weekly of the same name) ceased publication in 1977, Newsday launched a separate Queens edition, followed by a New York City edition dubbed New York Newsday. In June 2000, Times Mirror merged with the Tribune Company, partnering Newsday with the New York City television station WPIX (Channel 11), also owned by Tribune.

With the Times Mirror-Tribune merger, the newspaper founded by Alicia Patterson was now owned by the company that was founded by her great-grandfather, Joseph Medill — which owns the Chicago Tribune and, until 1991, also owned her father's Daily News. (Tribune sold the Daily News to British newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell. After Maxwell's death in 1992, his publishing empire collapsed and Mortimer Zuckerman purchased the Daily News.) Chicago, Illinois, real estate magnate Samuel Zell purchased Tribune in 2007.

News Corporation, headed by CEO Rupert Murdoch, attempted to purchase Newsday for US$580 million in April 2008. This was soon followed by a matching bid from Zuckerman and a $680 million bid from Cablevision. In May 2008, News Corporation withdrew its bid, and on May 12, 2008, Newsday reported that Cablevision would purchase the paper for $650 million. The sale was completed July 29, 2008.

Altice, a Netherlands multinational telecoms company, bought Cablevision, including Newsday and News 12 in 2016.

On July 7, 2016, Newsday announced that Patrick Dolan and father Charles Dolan would purchase a 75 percent stake in Newsday and associated companies. They are now the majority owners of the paper.

Editorial style

Despite having a tabloid format, Newsday is not known for being sensationalistic, as are other local daily tabloids, such as the New York Daily News and the New York Post.

In 2004, the alternative weekly newspaper Long Island Press (which is not related to the defunct daily of the same name) wrote that Newsday has used its clout to influence local politics in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

Bill Moyers briefly served as publisher. During the tenure of publisher Robert M. Johnson in the 1980s, Newsday made a major push into New York City. The paper's roster of columnists and critics has included Cathy Young, Jimmy Breslin, Barbara Garson, Normand Poirier, Murray Kempton, Gail Collins, Pete Hamill, Sydney Schanberg, Robert Reno (died 2012), Jim Dwyer, sportswriter Mike Lupica, music critic Tim Page, and television critic Marvin Kitman. The paper featured both advice columnists Ann Landers and Dear Abby for several years. From 1985 to 2005, Michael Mandelbaum wrote a regular foreign affairs analysis column for Newsday. Its features section has included, among others, television reporters Verne Gay and Diane Werts, TV/film feature writer Frank Lovece, and film critic Rafer Guzman. Newsday carries the syndicated columnist Froma Harrop. Pulitzer Prize winner Walt Handelsman's editorial political cartoons animation are a nationally syndicated feature of Newsday. In the 1980s, a new design director, Robert Eisner, guided the transition into digital design and color printing.

Newsday created and sponsored a "Long Island at the Crossroads" advisory board in 1978, to recommend regional goals, supervise local government, and liaison with state and Federal officials. It lasted approximately a decade.

On March 21, 2011, Newsday redesigned its front page, scrapping the nameplate and font used since the 1960s.

Circulation

In 2008, Newsday was ranked 10th in terms of newspaper circulation in the United States.

A circulation scandal in 2004 revealed that the paper's daily and Sunday circulation had been inflated by 16.9% and 14.5%, respectively, in the auditing period September 30, 2002 to September 30, 2003. The Audit Bureau of Circulation adjusted average weekday circulation to 481,816 from 579,599; average Saturday circulation to 392,649 from 416,830; and average Sunday circulation to 574,081 from 671,820, and instituted twice-yearly audits.

On October 28, 2009, Newsday changed its web site to a paid-subscriber only model. Newsday.com would open its front page, classified ads, movie listings, and school closings to all site visitors, but access beyond this content would require a weekly fee – US$5 as of 2010. This fee would be waived for subscribers of the print edition of the paper, as well as for subscribers to parent-company Cablevision's Internet service. Through its first three months only 35 non-Optimum, non-Newsday subscribers signed up for the paid web site.

Awards

Pulitzer Prize

Newsday has won 19 Pulitzer Prizes and has been a finalist for 20 additional: If no individual is listed, award is for Newsday staff.

  • 2014: Public Service (Finalist)
  • 2013: Editorial Writing (Finalist) — Editorial Board staff
  • 2008: Public Service (Finalist) — Jennifer Barrios, Sophia Chang, Michael R. Ebert, Reid J. Epstein, Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, Eden Laikin, Herbert Lowe, Joseph Mallia, Jennifer Maloney, Luis Perez and Karla Schuster
  • 2007: Editorial Cartooning (Winner)Walt Handelsman
  • 2005: International Reporting (Winner)Dele Olojede
  • 2005: Explanatory Reporting (Finalist)
  • 2004: Breaking News Reporting (Finalist)
  • 2002: Criticism (Winner)Justin Davidson
  • 1999: Criticism (Finalist) — Justin Davidson
  • 1999: Editorial Writing (Finalist) — Lawrence C. Levy
  • 1998: Beat Reporting (Finalist) — Laurie Garrett
  • 1997: Spot News Reporting (Winner)
  • 1996: Explanatory Journalism (Winner) — Laurie Garrett
  • 1996: Beat Reporting (Winner) — Bob Keeler
  • 1996: International Reporting (Finalist) — Laurie Garrett
  • 1995: Investigative Reporting (Winner) — Brian Donovan and Stephanie Saul
  • 1995: Commentary (Winner)Jim Dwyer
  • 1994: Explanatory Journalism (Finalist)
  • 1993: International Reporting (Winner)Roy Gutman
  • 1992: Spot News Reporting (Winner)
  • 1992: International Reporting (Winner) — Patrick J. Sloyan
  • 1991: Spot News Reporting (Finalist)
  • 1991: Spot News Photography (Finalist)
  • 1990: Specialized Reporting (Finalist) – Jim Dwyer
  • 1989: Investigative Reporting (Finalist) — Penny Loeb
  • 1986: Feature Writing (Finalist) — Irene Virag
  • 1985: International Reporting (Winner) — Josh Friedman, Dennis Bell, and Ozier Muhammad
  • 1985: Commentary (Winner)Murray Kempton
  • 1984: Local General or Spot News Reporting (Winner)
  • 1984: International Reporting (Finalist) — Morris Thompson
  • 1984: Criticism (Finalist) — Dan Cryer
  • 1982: International Reporting (Finalist) — Bob Wyrick
  • 1982: Criticism (Finalist) — Marvin Kitman
  • 1980: Local Investigative Specialized Reporting (Finalist) — Carole E. Agus, Andrew V. Fetherston Jr. and Frederick J. Tuccillo
  • 1974: Public Service (Winner)
  • 1974: Criticism (Winner)Emily Genauer, Newsday Syndicate
  • 1970: Public Service (Winner)
  • 1970: Editorial Cartooning (Winner)Thomas F. Darcy
  • 1954: Public Service (Winner)

In popular culture

  • In the 1985 comedy/thriller Compromising Positions, the lead character, played by Susan Sarandon, is a former Newsday journalist who is trying reestablish her career by selling a freelance story to the publication.
  • On the 1996–2005 CBS sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, the fictional character Ray Barone (played by Ray Romano) is employed by Newsday as a sportswriter.
  • The lead female character in the "Crocodile" Dundee movies worked at Newsday.
  • The episode "The Homer They Fall" in season eight of The Simpsons quotes Newsday in referencing boxing as "The cruelest sport".
  • Naked Came the Stranger is a 1969 novel written as a literary hoax poking fun at contemporary American culture. Though credited to "Penelope Ashe", it was in fact written by a group of twenty-four journalists led by Newsday columnist Mike McGrady. McGrady's intention was to write a deliberately terrible book with a lot of sex, to illustrate the point that popular American literary culture had become mindlessly vulgar. The book fulfilled the authors' expectations and became a bestseller in 1969; they revealed the hoax later that year, further spurring the book's popularity.