Somewhere, Capt. Joseph Medill Patterson is smiling.
A full century after the World War I Army veteran introduced New York City to his new tabloid newspaper, the venerable Daily News officially celebrates its 100th anniversary Wednesday.
Yes, happy birthday to us.
The paper was bold and brassy from the start, with circulation eventually soaring above 1 million as readers flocked to newsstands to take in the latest tales of urban crime and civic scandal, always illustrated with plenty of photos. And The News offered something else: The comics.
Patterson influenced the development of two of the paper’s most popular strips, Chester Gould’s cops and robbers classic “Dick Tracy” and Milton Caniff’s adventure strip “Terry and the Pirates.”
It was all part of his plan for a newspaper that catered to the city’s working class, a commitment that remains unchanged.
The News continues to chronicle its hometown like no one else as its second century begins with the same mandate as the paper did a century ago, with a dedication to its readers and a promise to champion the average New Yorker.
As the old ads promised, The News remains “the eyes, the ears, the honest voice of New York.”
“The New York Daily News is a quintessential part of New York,” said former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. “After all, it was — disguised as the Daily Planet — Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s real newspaper. Of course, that’s when we still had telephone booths.
“Today it’s still a big, loud and definitive New York voice. Sometimes infuriating, some insightful and always informative, it gets your attention with those neon light headlines demanding it.”
How long has The News been at this?
From Babe Ruth through Aaron Judge. From Woodrow Wilson through Donald Trump. Through the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field, Shea Stadium and Citi Field, two different Yankee Stadiums. Through mob hits and the “Miracle on the Hudson,” through the Civil Rights Movement and the rise of feminism and the #metoo movement, through 9/11 and everything since.
The Daily News has covered it all. And will continue to cover it all, in print and on the internet, as it always has.
Once we’re done blowing out the candles.