The Daily Is Dead, Ctd

Dec 4 2012 @ 3:18pm

Freddie DeBoer sees the e-newspaper's demise as part of a bigger problem:

Why would people think that you could have a viable media business model while catering only to people who own iPads? Because our media world is made up of people from a particular social and cultural class. … As such, they'll be lacking an important perspective, which is what the world looks like outside of the narrow slice of educated digitally-connected strivers who write the Internet. It's the most consistent and determinative aspect of our media: it's a homogenous group that fancies itself diverse and thus cannot see how incredibly out of touch it is with how most people live. I invite reporters to come here to Lafayette Indiana and ask around at the Village Pantry about the demise of The Daily.

Felix Salmon is in the same ballpark:

As far as news and journalism are concerned, the verdict is in: tablets aren’t a new medium which will support a whole new class of publications — there’s almost nothing you can do well on a tablet that you can’t just put on a website and ask people to read in a browser. Publications of the future will put their content online, and will go to great lengths to ensure that it looks fantastic when viewed on a tablet. But the tablet is basically just one of many ways to see material which exists on the internet; it’s not a place to put stuff which can’t be found anywhere else.

I'm not so sure for a simple reason.

I think long-form journalism works best on a tablet, while shorter forms perform better on desktops or laptops – often at work. The tablet is, for me, at least, about reading in a different way at a different time – in the evening or weekend, when you do not want to know the latest ripples on the news pond, but when you feel like a deep dive into a long essay or a book or a sustained piece of long-form reporting. It's a device for the long-attention span. Joshua Gans pushes back as well:

[D]oes this mean that news on tablets isn’t the way of the future? Felix Salmon seems to believe so but I think he is wrong. Tablets are great for reading in the way webpages are not. You just have to get the interface right as Macro Arment among others have learned. Readers want text and there is a place for that. The hard thing is to mix text with a good browsing experience to find what you want to read. The Daily presumed you wanted to read something or flip. For the rest of us, how to find what to read is still the challenge. Someone will solve it for me and others will solve it for other people. But solutions will be found.

Jack Shafer's bottom line:

The Daily demonstrates for the umpteenth million time that big media isn’t very good at creating new publications, be they new magazines, new newspapers, or new Web sites. Most big media operations have come to accept this, and instead of creating new properties they acquire them. So today, let’s both toast and damn Rupert Murdoch for trying but not trying hard enough to make something new, valuable, and profitable on the Web.