On June 25, 1878, the first issue of The Daily Morning News emerged from a third-floor backroom of a red brick downtown building in what was then the village of Batavia.
Not long after, the paper was changed to an afternoon publication and became The Daily News – the paper that you are reading in your hand – or perhaps, on your cell phone, tablet or another computer screen.
Today, in this space, we are celebrating the 143rd birthday of The Daily News.
It is not a milestone birthday – at 100, the paper published a centennial edition – but it is a number too big not to acknowledge. In the news business, longevity is worth celebrating, if only to acknowledge that we got through another year – or, in the case of the past year, one that sometimes felt like five.
Through more than 14 decades the staff of The Daily News has served the communities of Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties. They have told our stories through two world wars, and now, two pandemics.
The past year provides a strong reminder of the value the community places on the work of local journalists. It has repeatedly reminded us of our role in accurately informing and guiding residents through their daily lives.
In likely the most challenging year in area residents’ lives readers repeatedly turned to the The Daily News. They sought updates on the pandemic and later how to get vaccinations. They looked to us to sort facts from fiction they saw on social media. They used our opinion pages and commenting platforms to express frustration at government-mandated restrictions and closures. And in the early weeks of the pandemic they would turn to us simply to talk, sharing their trepidation at something most of us had never experienced.
The Daily News is among 28 papers in New York State that first published in 1878 or earlier and are still publishing, according to self-reported dates by member papers of the New York News Publishers Association, of which our paper is a member. New York State has a rich history of newspapers, with two papers – the Poughkeepsie Journal and our sibling paper, The Register-Star in Hudson – both claiming to have first published in 1785.
The Daily News is proud to share in New York’s newspaper legacy.
In our 143 years, our headlines have told the stories of wars, elections and cultural movements.
But the headlines have also provided a rich tapestry of our own history. Stories from every town, village and hamlet in Genesee and neighboring counties have always been the cornerstone of our coverage.
In the last half-century, for example, Daily News reporters were on-scene during the Attica Prison Riot. Our reporters chronicled the story of Terry Anderson, a Batavia High School graduate who was taken hostage by Shiite Hezbollah militants in Lebanon in 1985 and held for 2,454 days. Our pages have detailed how urban renewal changed Batavia’s historic downtown, and how it is now trying for a renaissance with new development. Six Flags Darien Lake was once just a campground, but through the Daily News you can trace how it became the state’s roller coaster capital.
And along the way we have shared stories of personal triumphs, both big and small, from 4-H projects to high school championships to Attica rodeo riders.
Being around for 143 years does not mean The Daily News is old or tired.
Far from it. The Daily News has adapted, if slowly at times.
Today, we publish a print edition five days a week. We maintain a frequently-updated website with news accessible 24/7, 365 days a year and where stories are told through video and audio. The website also hosts an e-edition, or a replica of each day’s printed paper. We have a presence on multiple social media platforms, allowing us to interact directly with the community. We regularly stream events, and are developing additional digital offerings.
In an editorial commemorating the newspaper’s centennial in 1978, the paper said the newspaper survived so long “because it has remained close to the people who buy it, the folks who used it every day in keeping up with affairs at all levels, who depend on it as an accurate guide to shopping, get a bit of entertainment from it and condensed to two words, enjoy it.”
Forty-three years later, not much has changed.
The Daily News would not have reached 143 years without the support of the community – from advertisers, subscribers, or those who have a story idea to share.
So while today’s editorial celebrates the history of this paper, it is also a recognition of the importance of our community – the secret to our success.
In 2021, we are living in a digital world that could not have been envisioned back in 1878. Among those first edition stories was one about roving gangs breaking up newfangled farm equipment in Ohio because it would deprive farmhands of employment.
While digital media is a part of our daily lives, we still love the printed page. There is something about holding the newspaper and turning its pages that make us feel more connected to the stories – and to our communities.