Monday, December 3, 2012

What We Can't Learn from The Daily's Demise



I come to neither praise nor bury The Daily, News Corp's iPad-only news app experiment that will end with a whimper in two weeks. But let's be clear on what went wrong — and what didn't. 

As Wired's business editor at the time The Daily was announced I decided to cover it as a big event — the coming out party literally was a big event for News Corp, which threw a press conference that seemed to try too hard anoint it as a golden child from inception. When you use phrases like "digital renaissance” and assert that "We believe The Daily will be the model for the way stories are told and consumed,” you are setting yourself up for quite a fall.

My own initial impression, for a formal Wired review, was that The Daily was "very good" — 7/10. I admired the "cover flow" approach to displaying content and likened the publication to a "re-imagined digital magazine that is updated every day."

I praised the content: "The Daily looks like it may be onto something editorially, even if the economics are a challenge." But I also hedged: "Content will make or break this app, and it’s too early to judge the quality of The Daily‘s journalism — though nothing we read in the inaugural edition disqualifies it."

That assessment changed quickly for me.

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