Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Daily is a beauty, but where's the news?

My first impression of Rupert Murdoch's much anticipated The Daily: It's a magazine heavy on beautifully rendered photos, graphics and other visuals, with only small blocks of text attached to them. Kind of like the old Life magazine. Yet, alongside USA Today's iPad app -- a logical comparison, since Murdoch's is another national daily -- its news content suffers. That's a potential problem, because the digital landscape hasn't changed a core fact in publishing: Exclusive news with broad impact drives readership.

Now, having said that, the Daily leaves USAT looking dowdy -- and that's a shame, given the paper's heritage as an innovator in journalism presentation. Perhaps this is the difference between an older print newspaper turned into an app, and a new publication planned for online consumption from the ground up.

The Daily is sold exclusively in Apple's iPad App Store, and is available free for two weeks. It costs 99 cents a week, or $39.99 a year.

Related: this morning's reviews from eight experts


  1. well, that counts me out if it's only available on an iPad. Never will own anything Apple makes.

  2. Luddite prejudice like "Never will own anything Apple makes" just confirms everyone's suspicions that the newspaper biz is full of crotchety old fogies.

    2:07: Is the iPad screen simply too bright for your green eyeshade?

    The Daily will be available for other companies' tablets eventually, but it may be months or even years. Let's all just wait until then, shan't we?

  3. It'll also be good to wait until mid summer before buying. A lot of techno upgrades occur by then.

  4. 2:25 -- I own an Apple -- and love it -- but I think it's important to note that 2:07's comments don't necessarily mean he/she is crotchety and old.

    Some of the techies that I know, particularly young ones, are anti-Apple. And you must admit that Apple products, in large part, are not made for high-end tech users. They are designed to be simple, which is great for people who want to use technology out of the box rather than adapt it specifically to their needs.

    In other words, your comment is just as judgmental and oversimplistic as 2:07's.

    It would be stupid for any news and information company to ignore the iPad simply because it's such a big deal in the consumer marketplace. That said, it isn't a flawless device and it's understandable why certain users (in all age groups) would opt for an android tablet or simply stick with their laptops and smart phones.

    More to the point of Jim's initial post, this could be good for USA Today. I for one read newspapers for news, not flashy presentation. Obviously other people have other preferences, but there is certainly room for a newspaper that provides real news. Right now, the New York Times does a good job with that market. I think Gannett will have to decide if it wants to try to compete with the Times, compete with Murdoch or carve out its own niche in between.

    The latter, I believe, would be the smartest route.

  5. The Daily's logo is about as interesting as the new NBC Universal logo.

    3,000 unemployed graphic artists in the country who would design for a bag of groceries - but let's go with what somebody's kid designed in Publisher.

  6. Why should I pay for The Daily while I can get similar or other news from USA Today, BBC, CNN etc free?


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