Congratulations to Rupert Murdoch: The Daily has launched. After the [ahem] mixed performance of paywalls on Murdoch’s other journalistic endeavors, The Daily is everything a newspaper could be were it faithfully translated from print to electronic. Some articles can be shared, ensuring pretty much everyone pays their way (at $0.99 per week) and the experience of waiting for the paperboy to travel down the information suburban backroad on a Tron bicycle is preserved. As a former paperboy, am I nostalgic for the ability to wait for my news to be delivered once a day? Not really.
This is not to say that The Daily will certainly fail but it is a product of another age trying to shoehorn itself into the digital age. Even with every other requirement and restriction (I think people are willing to pay for good content in a usable format) the idea that a staff of reporters has been assembled to create a mostly static news application seems downright silly.
I actually like the interface quite a bit. It doesn’t really feel like a printed magazine like Flipboard but it has a hybrid, almost “magical” intelligent sort of ability to respond to the user. For instance, there is an article about the Super Bowl with a map. Like a traditional newspaper, magazine or website the map is a small graphic. Unlike the web, clicking on the map does nothing. Pinch and zoom? No go. Turn the iPad into landscape and bingo, full sized map. That’s pretty cool. But at the price of abandoning standard touch controls AND standard web controls? Not exactly the best sign.
That said, it’s still by the makers of Fox News. Nice for a trial. Possibly a glimpse into the future. But a short stay on my iPad. The Wall Street Journal might work as a special case for paid, locked down content, but The Daily? Likely a stepping-stone.