All photos by Jared Kofsky
It may be called the New York Daily News, but the New Jersey state flag flies high above the newspaper’s printing plant. Although branded as ‘New York’s Hometown Newspaper,’ the publication that hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers wake up to every morning is actually printed right here in Jersey City.
Founded 98 years ago, the New York Daily News was largely printed in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights neighborhood beginning in 1927 in a Pacific Street building that is currently home to the Newswalk condominiums. However, towards the end of the 20th century, “the facility had become obsolete,” according to the publication, and The New York Times reported that the Brooklyn plant was being supplemented by ones in Garden City, New York and Kearny.
A need arose for a new facility, and it was decided that a former Clorox manufacturing plant at the corner of Edward Hart Drive and Theodore Conrad Drive in Jersey City’s Liberty Industrial Park would become the new home of the Daily News’ print operations. Construction began in 1994 on the plant, known as Liberty View, with a groundbreaking ceremony attended by then-Governor Christine Todd Whitman and then-Mayor Bret Schundler, and it opened in 1996. The $150 million new plant’s printers allowed for the paper to print in color for the first time. Liberty View was upgraded again in 2008, when the move was made from manual production to automation and KBA printing presses were installed.
While the Liberty View plant was recently being cleaned, James Brill, the Senior Vice President of Operations for the Daily News gave Jersey Digs an exclusive tour of the 425,000 square foot facility, which also prints roughly 100 other titles for 25 other publishers, such as the New York Amsterdam News and The Brooklyn Paper, through its Daily News Publishing Solutions division.
Liberty View is served by its own rail line spur, and the paper itself that the text and images are printed on comes to the plant on trains from Canada. Once the paper rolls are unloaded, they are stored on the first floor, before being unwrapped and fed upstairs to the 15-tower printing presses that can print 90,000 copies in an hour. The content comes late at night from the publication’s Manhattan offices. Approximately 300,000 copies of the Daily News are printed here on weekdays, and close to 400,000 are on weekends, with most being developed between 11:45pm and 3:00am. After the ink is placed and the paper is dried, copies are brought back downstairs by machines into the mail room, where inserts such as flyers and coupons are placed inside. The newspapers are then stacked and bundled along an assembly line, and are ready to be shipped.
Within the plant is the Liberty View Cafe, a cafeteria for the building’s approximately 500 employees filled with freshly printed copies of the day’s newspaper on the tables and framed enlargements of notable covers on the walls, such as the ‘OVER’ edition when Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad was taken down in 2003 and the ‘From a Big House to THE Big House’ edition when Lizzie Grubman was sentenced.
Outside, hundreds of delivery vans are parked, waiting for the early morning to deliver copies of the paper to newsstands and houses across New York City. Yet on every one of them, there is a New Jersey license plate, a reminder that the Garden State is where The News comes from.