The Daily don’t

It’s new, it’s news but it isn’t anything new.

The Daily has certainly created a media fuss, but the experience itself is less than perfect, and I struggle to believe it will succeed as a subscription model.

The Daily is long on sports and entertainment, and short of hard news. The issue I read had guest articles from Skeptical Environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg, and the Economist’s blogger Will Wilkinson. It also had an article on candy, plenty of the latest from Hollywood and extensive coverage of the Superbowl.

That Superbowl coverage is ok – for seemingly no reason at all you won’t find The Daily on New Zealand’s iTunes store. If you really do want to have a look, then get yourself a USA iTunes account.

There were a handful of hard news articles – just three in fact. One on Egypt, including some great photos, another on the big snow dump in the East of the USA  and a third on a 360 degree view of the Superbowl stadium.

No wait – that third one doesn’t count, and neither does a video that Senator Giffords starred in before she was shot, nor an article on whether Steelers Ben Roethlisberger  should or shouldn’t back up his words. The final article in the news section was on the break up of the White Stripes – sad but sadly not news.

There was plenty of magazine content – fluffy articles of dubious merit including this one on schoolkids buying duty free cigarettes and selling them to their friends. Ground breaking reporting.

The Daily is graphics hungry – every page is bespoke designed, and the magazine will keep a tribe of designers employed while it operates. This was the cover page to an article on un-pasteurized milk delivered to New York by Amish. an interesting story, but something you’d expect to see in a magazine, not a newspaper.

and that’s what The Daily is – a daily magazine. There is precious little of this:

and far too much of this – at least for my liking.

There is Sudoku, a crossword and paragraph snippets, and an article on cell phones on airplanes – a topic that has been covered before a lot. As usual the writer missed the obvious – that cell phone use is about data not voice, and that voice conversations would be kept short, as most are not oblivious to their environment.

There are embedded tweet streams, but no links – none. It’s old media, and old media thinks that each publication is a walled garden of delights. We readers beg to differ.

So would I pay for it? Not at all. The same news – in fact a lot more – is available as a web page or application from lots of other sources. Start by subscribing to daily emails from The Atlantic’s 5 best columns. It’s a great way to catch the opinions and news of the day – without the cost or the heavy graphics, requirement to use an iPad or the occasional crash.

Editorially The Daily is in a conundrum. It’s hard to appeal to the mass market in the USA when writing about hard stuff like politics and news. There always seems to be a slant to the news. My take – I think The Daily will migrate towards the Fox News crowd – less news, more entertainment and a right wing slant.

Published by Lance Wiggs


8 replies on “The Daily don’t”

  1. Murdoch just doesn’t get it. (why didnt he evolve myspace to better compete with facebook when he had the chance / membership – what a waste)

    NZ hearld app is great on ipad – but after a few weeks I preferred to read on the browser. Surely newspapers with a few hundred thousand/million hits a day can make sufficient $ via advertising alone.

    In my view, these large newspapers need to become more social savvy – discussion boards, comments, bloggers etc… articles alone may not always entice the reader to keep coming back.

    Those with smaller readerships (NBR) that need to charge a subscription will succeed if they have a niche market and provide quality journalism.


  2. My main problem with the app is that it breaks the navigation that I have gotten so used to with the Wired iPad app. The concept of an article or concept being changed on each sideways swipe and content within a concept/article expanding downwards works really well once you get used to it.

    In terms of the content it was OK but nothing really special. The lack of links is a problem but not having massive amounts of social media is a good thing. I already get my fix of social media from the social media sites. There is a need for curated content (as Wired has shown) but it still needs to link out to other places.


  3. it sounds like it’s pretty much on par with the ‘herald on sunday’. ugh.
    looks pretty right-leaning too from the screensaver i’ve seen. a bit FOX-y perhaps?


  4. Its kinda hard for a bunch of kiwis to comment on what will succeed in terms of US focussed media. We think, act & consume differently to your average american.

    I havent been hands on with the app yet but Murdoch is known as a media mogul so one might imagine this or a future derivative of it has a fairly high chance of succeeding.


    1. @Rich – time will tell I guess. He has been extremely successful, but he is transitioning away from traditional methods which he knows and trying to make it work in a new environment.

      Its not something I’d buy – not necessarily for the price – but I don’t think apps and journalism works in the long run ?


      1. People dont seem to have the same reluctance to purchase when using mobile devices so I expect once the mainstream have their new mailbox/doorstep aka iPad they will be happy to pay for their news subscription.

        Personally, I’d pay. I’ve never paid for a (paper) newspaper sub before as I consume news online but I like the idea of a daily digest of well researched articles written by professional journalists.

        So really this just brings us back to @lances original question about quality of content. I think Murdoch has the experience to fine turn that part.


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