The Daily begs the question, did you hear what Howard Stern said this morning?February 3, 2011
News Corporation’s promise is to reinvent journalism through an iTunes-like, carousel-driven presentation that allows readers to swipe their way through content that mixes gorgeous photography and still-glitchy video with writing that’s somewhere between The New York Times and USA Today in its broad coverage of news, lifestyle, art, gossip, sports, and apps and gaming.
Schizophrenic in parts and still uneven in its editorial tone, The Daily sometimes reads like a long-version advertorial for the iPad.
For instance, a day-two video and story about Gabrielle Giffords is so unabashedly iPad-focused that it’s almost in bad taste and seems to play off of Giffords’ misfortune to promote the very device you’re using to read The Daily.
The video, produced before the shooting, probably would never have seen the light of day if not for the tragedy and News Corp.’s ability to capitalize on it in order to simultaneously promote more iPad purchases that could result in more subscriptions to The Daily.
And then, there are the glitches. The carousel is slow. Video, even on fast Wi-Fi, takes time to load and is initially pixelated. Some videos — for instance, an interesting interview with Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long — only played the audio against a black screen.
That’s not acceptable for online viewers of, say, CNN.com, who enjoy instant streaming without jittery delays. All of this, however, is fixable.
What might not be correctable is a more basic flaw. As readers, we want information to float between platforms, devices, and the cloud. At home, we demand access on TV and the iPad; at work, it’s our laptops and desktops; and on the fly, it’s still the smart phone. Availability turns me on, keeps me connected, and defines the beat of the day.
By restricting itself to a single channel, The Daily could be choking its own oxygen supply of subscribers. It’s disappointing. Even in my own office, I love the choice of using my iPad from the sofa, laptop in back of my desk, and the flat panel projected on the wall. Why contain me?
So it’s logical to ask, could The Daily suffer the same fate as Howard Stern, with his decision to limit his audience to satellite radio? Let’s face it. When Howard left terrestrial, we all kind of lost track of him.
I am afraid that The Daily, which in the end is an elegant and fascinating attempt to modernize media, will suffer the same fate as Howard. Left as an insider’s toy to those in the know, and not roundly shared by us all.
In an age when information wants to be free, The Daily seems quaintly confined to the small, little box of my iPad, while my world extends beyond. So who was on Howard this morning, anyway? Can’t tell you.