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Illustration of a newspaper front page on a pale pink background. List of the largest US newspapers.

List of the 16 Largest US Newspapers

TJ Kiely

Oct 25, 2023

U.S. newspapers have been a part of American culture for centuries and have played an essential role in informing the public about current events. With the rise of digital media, many people believe that newspapers are no longer relevant. However, this couldn't be further from the truth.

Newspapers continue to play a vital role in shaping our society, providing readers with in-depth coverage of local and national news stories. Many have embraced digital transformation to reach more readers than ever. And, according to recent data, nearly 62% of adults read physical newspapers.

Unique visitors of newspaper websites.

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Despite the challenges posed by digital media, many newspapers across the U.S. have managed to stay relevant. Here’s a closer look at the largest U.S. newspapers and how they continue to build trust and share information in the digital era.

Table of Contents

The 5 Largest Daily US Newspapers

It’s estimated that there are more than 24.3 million daily newspaper copies (both print and digital) in circulation as of 2020. Here are the five biggest U.S. newspapers these copies are coming from.

1. The Wall Street Journal

  • Total subscribers: more than 3.749 million
  • Digital subscribers: 3 million
  • Print subscribers: 649K

Based on circulation numbers, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is among the largest daily U.S. newspapers, with more than 3.749 million subscribers.

This includes more than 3 million digital subscribers as well as 649,000 print subscriptions.

The newspaper saw incredible subscription growth during COVID, jumping 19% in digital subscriptions to reach 2.9 million.

2. The New York Times

The NY Times is the biggest news site in the US

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One of the most trusted names in U.S. newspapers, The New York Times is also one of the longest-running names in print.

Like WSJ, the New York Times is doubling down on digital and has announced goals of reaching 15 million total subscribers by the end of 2027.

It currently boasts 9.6 million paying subscribers across print and digital formats.

3. USA Today

  • Daily Readers: 3 million
  • Strong online presence

Found in hotel rooms and newsstands across the country, USA Today is one of the most recognized U.S. newspapers. It boasts a strong online presence and reaches an estimated 3 million daily readers

4. The Washington Post

  • Total subscribers: almost 3 million
  • trusted source for political news and breaking developments

Another newspaper embracing digital transformation, The Washington Post is creeping closer to 3 million subscribers. Given its location in Washington D.C., The Washington Post is a trusted source for political news and breaking developments that affect every corner of the country.

5. Los Angeles Times

  • Total subscribers: 4.4 million
  • Sunday print edition subscribers: more than 1.6 million
  • Digital audience: 2.8 million
  • largest metropolitan newspaper in the U.S.

Los Angeles Times is the largest metropolitan newspaper in the U.S. It brings more than 1.6 million readers to its Sunday print edition and has a combined print and digital audience of 4.4 million subscribers.

The 3 Largest Online US Newspapers

The above U.S. newspapers all boast a powerful online presence, allowing them to reach more readers who prefer digital media to traditional print. In addition to these, there are a number of other newspapers that exist solely online.


1. HuffPost

  • Visits per month: 8.6 million in the U.S. alone
  • Localized and international content
  • Features media content

Touted as a progressive American news source, HuffPost was a pioneer of online-only newspapers.
The site earns an estimated 8.6 million visits each month in the U.S. alone.
It features both localized and international content spanning a wide range of categories, including

  • politics
  • breaking news
  • health
  • culture
  • entertainment
  • special interests

True to its digital format, the site also features multimedia content, including photos, video blogs, and audio.

2. The Independent

  • Registered users: 4 million
  • U.K.-based newspaper with a special edition for the U.S.
  • Available online and via app

The Independent is a U.K.-based newspaper with a special edition for the U.S.

The Independent covers:

  • news
  • sports
  • culture
  • lifestyle
  • travel
  • other topics

It’s available online as well as in app form, which has helped the company to reach 4 million registered users.

3. Daily Beast

  • Organic visits per month: 2.7 million
  • Paid subscriptions account for 20% of its revenue

The Daily Beast is an online-only news source that earns an estimated 2.7 million organic visits each month. In recent years, the site has tested paid subscriptions, which now account for 20% of its revenue.

The 3 Largest Free US Newspapers

While many U.S. newspapers charge a fee for a subscription or per newspaper (even online), some newspapers offer their content for free.

1. SFGate

  • Free online newspaper
  • Content: news, sports, entertainment, and lifestyle
  • Geo Focus: San Francisco Bay Area, national and international news

SFGate is a free online newspaper that provides news, sports, entertainment, and lifestyle content.

Most of its content is focused on the San Francisco Bay Area, but the publication also covers national and international news. SFGate also features a range of lifestyle content, including food, travel, fashion, and health, and provides comprehensive coverage of local sports teams.

The publication has a large online following and offers unrestricted access to its content without the need to create an account.

2. Metro Philadelphia

  • Content: news, sports, entertainment
  • Geo Focus: Philadelphia

More along the lines of a local lifestyle publication, Metro Philadelphia is a free newspaper that provides news, sports, entertainment, and other content skewed to the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

Readers can access digital editions online, with new content coming out on an almost-daily basis. Print editions can also be found around town. This small paper remains a popular and reliable source of news and information for Philly locals.

3. The Michigan Daily

  • Geo Focus: Michigan
  • large student-run newspaper
  • has strong ties to the Ann Arbor community

The Michigan Daily is a large student-run newspaper with a history tracing back 132 years.

Based at the University of Michigan, the newspaper has strong ties to the Ann Arbor community.

It publishes new papers Monday through Friday during the fall and winter terms, with weekly editions coming out during spring terms.

The 5 Largest Paid US Newspapers

Charging a subscription or per-paper fee is one of the primary ways U.S. newspapers generate revenue. This revenue helps to cover printing costs and website hosting, ensure high-quality content, and distribute the paper to readers. Here’s a closer look at some of the top paid U.S. newspapers:

1. New York Post

  • Ranks #287 out of all websites in the world
  • Based in New York City
  • Conservative-leaning US newspaper
  • Wide range of topics

The New York Post is a daily newspaper based in New York City.

Since its founding more than 200 years ago, it has maintained a reputation for sensational headlines. The New York Post was originally founded as a conservative-leaning newspaper, and its editorial stance has remained largely consistent over the years. 

Patriot games: The USA is experiencing a crisis of faith - in itself.

The newspaper covers a wide range of topics, including local and national news, sports, entertainment, business, and opinion.

It has a reputation for breaking major stories and conducting hard-hitting investigative reporting. According to SimilarWeb data, ranks #287 out of all websites in the world.

2. Chicago Tribune

  • Daily newspaper
  • One of the longest-running US newspapers
  • Has won 27 Pulitzer prizes

The Chicago Tribune is a daily newspaper. Founded in 1847, it remains one of the longest-running newspapers out of all 50 states. The Tribune is the largest publication of its kind in the Midwest and has won 27 Pulitzer prizes through the years.

It is the biggest name under the Chicago Tribune Media Group umbrella, which also publishes several smaller papers and more than 30 weekly publications.

3. Houston Chronicle

  • Daily readers: more than 825,000
  • Sunday edition readers: more than 1.4 million
  • One of the largest newspapers in the US
  • Covers local, state, national, and international news
  • Print and digital formats

The Houston Chronicle remains one of the largest newspapers in the United States.

Founded in 1901, the newspaper delivers local, state, national, and international news to readers via print and digital formats. It reaches more than 825,000 daily readers through the week and more than 1.4 million readers (more than half of Houston’s population) with its Sunday edition.

4. Dallas Morning News

  • Covering local, national, and international news
  • Its digital subscriber base increased by more than 20% in 2021

Dallas Morning News has been serving up local, national, and international news since 1885. Its parent company, Dallas News Corporation, is the oldest operating media company in Texas.

Its digital subscriber base increased by more than 20% in 2021, demonstrating traditional media’s stalwart position in the digital landscape.

5. San Francisco Chronicle

  • Geo Focus: California
  • Print & digital format
  • Wide range of topics
  • Has received six Pulitzer prizes

The San Francisco Chronicle mostly serves the California market (primarily the Bay Area).

It’s available in print or as a digital edition and covers a wide range of topics, including crime, business, politics, ecology, technology, and local issues.

With roots tracing back to 1865, the newspaper has received six Pulitzer prizes for its commitment to fair journalism.

Which Was The First Newspaper in US History?

The very first newspaper published in the U.S. was called Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick. It was published in Boston in 1690 but didn’t continue past its first edition.

Image of the first US newspaper, Publick Occurrences newspaper

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The first continuously published newspaper in the United States was the Boston News-Letter, which was first published on April 24, 1704.

The News-Letter was a weekly paper that focused on local news, shipping, and international news. It was published by John Campbell, a bookseller in Boston, and it continued to be published for nearly 72 years.

Which Is The Oldest Newspaper in the US?

The longest-running newspaper in the United States is The Hartford Courant.

It was first published in Hartford, Connecticut on October 29, 1764, making it over 250 years old. The newspaper was originally called The Connecticut Courant and was founded by Thomas Green.

Today, The Hartford Courant is still in publication and is owned by the Tribune Company.

Hartford Courant

The New York Post is a close runner-up. Founded in 1801, it has consistently produced daily newspapers for more than 220 years.

History of the US Newspaper

U.S. newspapers have been around almost as long as the 13 original colonies. The first newspaper started in Boston, but the format quickly found favor in major cities like Philadelphia, Charleston, and New York

During the 18th and 19th centuries, newspapers grew in popularity and influence. Publishers found they could shape public opinion and mobilize political movements. The rise of the penny press in the 1830s and 1840s made newspapers more affordable and accessible to the general public, leading to a boom in newspaper circulation.

In the 20th century, newspapers provided coverage of major events like wars, civil rights movements, and presidential elections. However, television and the internet challenged the dominance of print newspapers, as consumers now had more options for staying up to date. These new technologies have contributed to declining circulation and financial struggles for many newspapers.

Today, newspapers are still highly relevant in American society, though the industry looks different than its heydey. Many newspapers have shifted to digital platforms, and some have experimented with new revenue models as a way to appeal to new readers and embrace emerging technologies.

US Newspapers Still Play a Role in Today’s Media

Companies, brands, and organizations need to know their best media opportunities to reach their target audiences. U.S. newspapers shouldn’t be overlooked in the digital era, despite assumed declines in circulation. Print media is still relevant, and many print publications are also offering digital content as a way to appeal to more readers. This dual-sided approach gives you more ways to reach your audiences in a cost-effective manner.

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Meltwater can help you discover the best U.S. newspapers and media outlets to expand your reach as well as conduct print monitoring.

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