York Town Square

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Web, mobile, tablet technology causes revisions in York, Pa., news media history

This is an early version of ydr.com, the York, Pa., Daily Record/Sunday News website, launched 15 years ago in the blizzard of 1996. It was one of York County’s earliest public websites. The news organization operates or contributes to numerous web and social media sites today – gametimepa.com, flipsidepa.com – but ydr.com is its flagship. (Visit: The story of how ydr.com was born.) Also of interest: York County newspaper staff powers coverage through blizzard, electrical shutdown and York Daily Record/Sunday News’ website recently passed its 15th anniversary and York County, Pa., journalism goes back to the future.

I wrote this short story, “A story about journalism,” to accompany a recent York Sunday News column … .

Rupert Murdoch’s the Daily designed exclusively for tablets created some recent buzz.
This app drawn from news on the Web is a big deal, but it should be noted that the York Daily Record/Sunday News is in that game, too.
Our news organization has a Web edition replicating the newspaper, as well as a mobile news site. We have a news app and a high school sports app for smartphones.
We’re working on an app for iPads and other tablets… .

To be sure, Murdoch’s tablet solution is directed to maximize that device’s video and image capabilities. It’s done without the limitations of a newspaper in mind.
Our initial foray into an iPad app will probably be closer to a reproduction of the newspaper.
But hey, people are reading the paper on Kindles and other portable e-book devices.
We talk about it all the time in our newsroom.
People are reading more news and other content we generate in any given day – via print, Web, mobile, smartphone apps and, soon, on tablets – than at any time in our 200-plus-year history.

So perhaps the chronology of Gazette/Gazette and Daily/York Daily Record history, found at York, Pa., newspaper’s founding date hard to pin down, would be adjusted thusly:
1795 — J.W. Gitt consistently points to his newspaper’s founding in 1795. The earliest existing copy of Solomon Meyer’s weekly German-language Gazette is dated May 20, 1796, and numbered “14.”
1815 — After several years without publication of a newspaper called The Gazette in York, William C. Harris issues an English-language Gazette. The Gazette resumes a weekly German edition in 1821, published until 1891.
1836 — David Small begins 49-year tenure as Gazette owner. The politically active Small also serves terms as York postmaster, county director of the poor and York’s chief burgess. As burgess, he is integral in the decision to surrender York during the Confederate occupation in the days before the Battle of Gettysburg.
1887 — Prominent businessman Adam Geesey converts The Gazette to daily publication, the third York-area newspaper to publish daily.
1899 — The Gazette first uses photographs, then in fledgling use by newspapers, to cover York County’s 150th anniversary festivities.
1901 — After numerous moves in its first 100 years, The Gazette locates to the 31 E. King St., York, plant that would serve as its home until 1973.
1915 — Allen C. Wiest and law partner J.W. Gitt acquire the foundering Gazette. This begins Gitt’s 55-year reign as Gazette owner. Under Gitt, the newspaper gains a national reputation for its independent, some said leftist, news orientation and editorial positions.
1918 — The Gazette purchases The Daily, York’s first daily newspaper, and the York Legal Record. The Gazette is renamed The Gazette and Daily.
1943 — Because of wartime newsprint shortages, The Gazette and Daily changes to a tabloid format.
1948 — Gitt draws criticism for his left-of-center leanings after backing Henry Wallace, Progressive Party candidate for U.S. president. The York newspaper is the only commercial daily in the United States to back Wallace.
1964 — Gitt refuses advertisements for presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, saying the Republican is as harmful as tobacco and liquor. Gitt has long rejected ads for those products.
1970 — Amid labor problems, the newspaper shuts down. Gitt sells assets to a local group headed by attorney Harold N. Fitzkee Jr. Gitt retires the Gazette and Daily name. The newspaper soon reopens with a York Daily Record nameplate. The name is said to come from The Daily and the York Legal Record, purchased in 1918.
1973 — The Daily Record is sold to Jimmy D. Scoggins, a veteran newspaperman. Scoggins moves the paper from York’s downtown building to a new plant in Springettsbury Township and changes to its current broadsheet format. The downtown building is later razed to provide a parking lot.
1978 — Buckner News Alliance purchases the newspaper from Scoggins and modernizes the newspaper’s appearance and operations.
1988 — MediaNews Group, owner of The York Dispatch, purchases the York Sunday News.
1989 — The Daily Record and The York Dispatch announce they will seek government approval for a joint operating agreement, a partial merger.
1990 — The U.S. Justice Department approves the JOA, creating the York Newspaper Co. to manage merged production, circulation and advertising departments. The Daily Record and Dispatch newsrooms are not part of the merger and remain under separate ownership.
1996 — The York Daily Record’s initial website, ydr.com, was launched in the middle of a blizzard when the newspaper could not be delivered.
2004 — Buckner News Alliance sells the York Daily Record to MediaNews Group. MediaNews Group continues to own the York Sunday News, and the newspaper publishes seven mornings a week.
2010 — By this time, the York Daily Record/Sunday News newsroom is operating ydr.com and several other websites and is contributing content for smartphone use via mobile sites and apps. It is introducing a news app for tablets.

2011 –Digital First Media began operating MNG and Journal-Register Co.

*Edited, 8/1/12