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Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp launches The Daily app for the iPad

I’ve only used it for five or so minutes, but wasn’t impressed so far. The articles seem to be targeted at high school students, the average word count less than an USA Today article, and of course, much less than a New York Times article or even a Wall Street Journal article. Also more gossip-heavy than I like: in fact the second section (after News) is called straight out: Gossip. So 1/6 news, 1/6 is opinion by right-wing stalwarts like Bjorn Lomborg, 4/6 various lifestyle/celebrity gossip/sports/and games. Not a mix targeted to someone like me.

Update: if you want to read a the first couple days worth of articles, you can via this Tumblr blog, even if you don’t have an iPad.

Topic of the Day

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp1 has released a new iPad only news-esque app with great fanfare. The Daily, as it is called, is going to charge a daily subscription of 99¢ a week2 but is free for the first two weeks3.

I’ve only used it for ten or so minutes, but wasn’t impressed so far. The articles seem to be targeted at high school students, the average word count less than an USA Today article, and of course, much less than a New York Times article or even a Wall Street Journal article. Also more gossip-heavy than I like: in fact the second section (after News) is called straight out: Gossip. So 1/6 news, 1/6 is opinion by right-wing stalwarts like Bjorn Lomborg, 4/6 various lifestyle/celebrity gossip/sports/and games. Not a mix targeted to someone like me.

The Chicago Tribune has published a version of their paper called Red Eye, targeted at kids and college kids, and it seems similar (minus the iPad bells and whistles). I never read it. Well, flip through the pages, reading isn’t quite the right verb, as usually there aren’t too many words to read. The Daily seems an updated version.

The Daily also crashed twice in the five minutes I browsed the app. Though to be fair, the NYTimes App took several iterations before it became stable, and the Daily is only version 1.0. I also found The Daily to be fairly sluggish sometimes when jumping between sections.

So would I buy it, once the two week trial ends? Probably not. But I’ll use it for a few more days and see if it gets better.

 

Update: if you want to read a the first couple days worth of articles, you can via this Tumblr blog, even if you don’t have an iPad.

Pip and his iPad

Some reactions from various competitors:

But with bureaus only in New York and Los Angeles, backed up by freelance contributors elsewhere, not only is meaningful local coverage impossible but even regional coverage will be selective at best.

Reading the Daily can involve a certain amount of sluggishness. The “carousel” interface that greets you when you launch it lags behind your gestures, and some turns of an onscreen page also leave you waiting for a moment.

I also noticed one outright bug: With the Daily open, an iPad would not shut off its screen automatically, quickly draining its battery.

It also includes an opinion section. Editor Jesse Angelo dodged a question about whether it would mirror the right-leaning ideological tilt of other News Corp. outlets, saying only, “We are patriotic, we love America … we believe in free ideas, we believe in free people.”

(click here to continue reading Rob Pegoraro – News Corp. launches its tablet-only the Daily app for the iPad.)

That doesn’t sound like a dodge to me, but something that would said on Fox New most days of the week. Uggh.

NYTime’s Media Decoder blog:

The Fox News Channel suspended coverage of the violence taking place in Cairo Wednesday to present the news conference introducing The Daily, a new business venture controlled by Fox’s corporate owner, the News Corporation.

Both of the channel’s news competitors, CNN and MSNBC, continued to telecast the growing tension in Cairo, which included clashes in the streets involving Molotov cocktails and fire hoses.

At the same time Anderson Cooper on CNN was reporting on fires breaking out in the streets from incendiary devices, Fox News had continuing coverage of the press event surrounding The Daily, including a speech by Mr. Murdoch and editors of the online paper, as well as demonstrations of what the paper would look like on iPads.

At one point in the Fox coverage, the business anchor Neil Cavuto appeared to respond to comments from viewers who were suggesting that Fox was only covering this because this was a business owned by their own boss.

“That might have something to do with it,” Mr. Cavuto said. He then offered arguments for why this news spoke to “cultural events beyond a given company,” suggesting that it was a “crucial stage” in the future of news because so many more people were getting their news and information online

(click here to continue reading The First Look at News Corp.’s ‘The Daily’ – NYTimes.com.)

I Pee Free Daily

Macworld:

But we’ve seen most of this before. Every major newspaper Website features videos these days, and a number of them even make great use of big and panoramic photos. The Economist’s app beat The Daily to the punch in offering audio transcripts of the written stories. All in all, the app isn’t quite as innovative as Murdoch and Apple would have you believe.

Having built a kinda-new wineskin, Murdoch’s wine seems awfully familiar … and underwhelming. With its breezy, pointed headlines—“Here we snow again, America”—The Daily strongly resembles News Corp.’s own New York Post. With its energetic coverage of sports, it is reminiscent of USA Today. With its emphasis on graphics and photos of beautiful people, The Daily seems like People or Us Weekly.

But in its overall mix—light on news, heavier on celebrities and jocks, every item short and punchy—The Daily most reminds me of two other attempts to save daily newspapers from hemorrhaging young readers: Red Streak and RedEye, two free tabloids that appeared in Chicago a decade ago, aimed at twentysomething commuters who, it was thought, weren’t interested in news unless it was chopped up and dumbed down. There wasn’t much there there, and the same seems to be the case with The Daily: Murdoch’s reinvention of journalism looks a lot like the one before it.

(And, it should be noted, the “legacy” newspapers behind the RedEye and Red Streak—the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, respectively—have both been in bankruptcy in recent years. So much for reinvention.)

One of the clearest indications that The Daily is tied to old-school ways of thinking, though, is the presence of sudoku and crossword puzzles in the app. There are plenty of iPad offerings in both genres for dedicated puzzle-players, so it’s perplexing to see The Daily duplicate those efforts instead of concentrating on what it should do best: news.

The Daily isn’t a total disappointment. It seems most promising as a platform for advertisers: ads are quite easy to overlook on newspaper and magazine Websites, but on The Daily they fit into the natural flow of reading, and can grab your attention with eye-popping graphics. There is some promise here.

 

(click here to continue reading The Daily: New technology, but old news? – Business – Macworld.)

The Guardian U.K.:

Some have written it off as dead on arrival, thanks to its fusion of old and new media. It will be fully digital, but published every night in time for the subscriber to read over morning coffee. “Wonderful! Slower news – and at a higher price,” wrote Scott Rosenberg of Salon before the launch.

As ever, Murdoch has dismissed the naysayers with a flick of his ample cheque book. He has sunk $30m (£19m) into developing the Daily and said it would cost $26m a year to cover its costs, including those of 100 staff. He is targeting the 50 million people expected to own an iPad by the end of next year. Analysts project that he can cover costs if 2% of them could be persuaded to subscribe to the Daily at 99 cents a week – no mean task, considering that there are already 9,000 other news apps for the iPad on the market. “It will all come down to content,” said Alan Mutter, blogger and former editor of the Chicago Daily News. “He’s going to have to make something very compelling to get people to pay.”

The first edition of the Daily had a conventional news front on Egypt under the headline “Falling Pharaoh”. It gave high billing to its gossip section, with features on Natalie Portman and Rihanna, and a column by Richard Johnson, formerly the doyen of the Page Six gossip column of the New York Post. It also showcased several digital bells and whistles, including photographs that can be scanned through 360 degrees, a “carousel” of stories that can be spun with a finger, and stories that you can listen to like a radio.

Asked by the Guardian whether the Daily would be more centrist in its politics than other parts of News Corporation, which, particularly in America, have been accused of being caustically rightwing, Murdoch was noncommittal, saying its editor, Jesse Angelo, would decide.

“We are patriotic,” Angelo replied. “We love America, we are going to say what we think is right for this country.” How would he measure success, Murdoch was asked. “When we are selling millions,” he replied.

(click here to continue reading Rupert Murdoch unveils next step in media empire – the iPad ‘newspaper’ | Media | The Guardian.)

There’s more if you want to find more

Footnotes:
  1. Fox News, Wall Street Journal, eats babies, yadda yadda []
  2. $40 a year []
  3. actually sponsored by Verizon []

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