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It follows his eight-year stint on the National Enquirer, during which he helped to break a story that earned two Pulitzer Prize nominations – the first and only time the supermarket tabloid was so honoured.
Hitchen was one of the team that revealed vice-presidential candidate John Edwards, whose wife was dying from cancer, had fathered a child with his mistress. It became one of the biggest US political stories in 2010.
His new job comes courtesy of former News of the World editor Colin Myler, who has edited the Daily News since January this year. But Hitchen evidently faces a tough time because the paper’s squad of freelance photographers are reportedly very unhappy about the requirement to sign new contracts.
Media retreat in America’s major city
That is but a small problem compared to the overall drama facing the city’s journalism. Jeff Jarvis is worried about New York becoming under-covered and under-served despite having three daily newspapers.
He says the Daily News is undergoing “a swinging door of personnel changes” as it strives to follow the Daily Mail’s celebrity agenda.
Its main tabloid rival, the Post, loses a reported $110m (£64m) a year. And, he says, its owner, Rupert Murdoch, “doesn’t need his expensive bully pulpit anymore; he has Twitter and journalists ready to spread his every addled word.” So, speculates Jarvis: “It could die.”
Then Jarvis considers broadcasters, arguing that local TV news isn’t news. He writes: “I see opportunity… I see a need to understand the current state of coverage of the city and where it could go. And I see a role for the three journalism schools in New York.”