In what appears to be the worst kept tech secret so far this year, Rupert Murdoch’s The Daily was finally announced and launched last week in New York. Purporting itself as a re-envisioning of journalism and news for the iPad, Murdoch invested hundreds of millions of dollars to deliver truly original content (on the cheap, no less) in an otherwise dying industry.
Does The Daily live up to his original promise? Will it revolutionize and revitalize journalism just as the iPad revolutionized portable computing?
Looking past the hype, The Daily really delivers on it’s promise of original content. Each article is carefully researched and succinctly crafted to tell a compelling story. Not only are the articles refreshing, but the app also delivers rich media content (360 degree photos and streaming video) in a seamless and well-though-out manner. In fact, The Daily reminds me of the traditional newsstand magazine form (but more engaging and interactive), and how much more engaging old school journalism still is.
And that’s fundamentally the problem with both The Daily and the current way of online news delivery.
In the era of 24-hour news, sound-bites, RSS and blogs, journalism has been distilled into a fast paced, no holds barred, action packed roller coaster ride. What it lacks in unique perspectives and insights, it makes up for in sensationalism and politically polarizing personalities. Not to say that this latest form of journalism is faulty or useless; rather, it commoditizes news and information for all to consume, but detracts the consumer from truly digesting the information and arriving at their own conclusions. In retrospect, this is what traditional news magazines did well.
For Rupert Murdoch and his team of traditional journalists, The Daily is a no-brainer. They went back to what they were taught in J-School – produce insightful pieces that tell an interesting story about the news. Give it a personal style, bring thought-provoking and relevant perspectives, research the heck out of it. It’s what they know and what they’re good at. Little wonder that Murdoch was able to easily poach top reporters and journalists around the globe for this endeavor. Add to this a unique blend of pop-culture hipness and 21st century tech, and you have yourself The Daily. It’s not exactly new nor groundbreaking, but it is oh-so refreshing.
I really hope that The Daily succeeds and that initial users find value in this form of adrenaline pumped slow-journalism. At a mere $40 a year, it’s cheaper than my monthly iPhone bill and probably more valuable. However, it’s ultimate survival requires a substantially large user base (and advertising, of course, but I have my doubts about their CPM rates) to support the high quality of content being produced. If you haven’t checked out The Daily, it’s a free app for download in the App Store, and Verizon has been kind enough to sponsor a 2 week free trial to whet your appetite. I’d recommend checking it out.
For those of us testing the waters, though, what are your thoughts? Is this what you we’re expecting and hoping for? Will you ultimately subscribe? Let us know in the comments below.
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