VOL. 126 | NO. 26 | Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Daily News Marks 125th Anniversary
By Bill Dries
A birthday cake would have had too many candles.
So the symbol on the masthead of The Daily News starting this week will be one way the newspaper you are reading marks a milestone.
It was 125 years ago that the publication now called The Daily News was founded.
In 1886, Grover Cleveland was president and dedicated the new Statue of Liberty, which was followed by the first ticker tape parade ever in New York City. The London Times published the world’s first classified ad.
Memphis didn’t exist as a city, having lost its charter in the devastating aftermath of the 1878 yellow fever epidemic and the collapse of city government finances. David Hadden was president of the taxing district. The Shelby County Courthouse that marked its centennial last year was still 24 years away from being built.
The seat of all local government, including the courts, was the old Overton Hotel, about where the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts now sits.
The newspaper has had three other names since its 1886 founding – The Daily Record, The Daily Court Reporter and The Daily Court News.
“I keep a copy of one of the oldest copies of the paper on my wall in my office, just to remind me of the history of the paper, the sense that every edition we put out is a continuation of a very long legacy covering Memphis,” said Eric Barnes, publisher of The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc.
Since its beginning and in all of its incarnations, the newspaper has been built on a foundation of providing public notices and public records that are the source material for the city’s daily business.
Plans are being made for a series of events honoring the milestone for what has been a local, family-owned business since its inception. Look for stories throughout the year recounting the history of the paper, culminating with a 125th anniversary party in the fall.
Upgrades are a constant part of the company’s history, the latest of which includes major improvements to the printing press and its capacity.
“Even with a history as long as ours, there always seems to be an opportunity to do something new and different, be it a revamped website, the launch of our weekly edition, or the start of an e-mail edition,” Barnes said.
The Daily News Publishing Co. also marks the 125th anniversary with an upgrade of Chandler Reports, the regional real estate information company also owned by the publishing company.
In June, The Memphis News, the free weekly publication of The Daily News Publishing Co., will begin its third year.
There is also an expansion into the Nashville market.
The company bought The Westview, a family-owned Middle Tennessee suburban weekly, in February 2010. It recently rebranded it as The Nashville Ledger and will expand its circulation into Williamson County after initially building an expanded market into the Downtown Nashville area. There are also plans to turn the weekly publication into a bi-weekly publication.
“I’ve always thought that what matters most is putting out quality journalism and information, regardless of format,” Barnes said. “So whether you read our paper in print or on your iPhone, what matters to us is that you get the type of high quality, very serious journalism that we try to produce.”