Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Daily, iPad newspaper (updated)

Third update 6 Feb:
I think the format works, but as one might have predicted, the content does not interest me. Last year I tried newspapers for a while, and they simply do not hold my interest, they don't write about anything of consequence.
But a similar format might be used for interesting magazines.

Second update: outstanding article.
“If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?” To which the answer is: Nothing. Nothing will work. 
...  It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves — the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public — has stopped being a problem.

OK, so today The Daily launched, Rupert Murdock's e-paper made for the iPad. (I can't download it now, surely the server is over-loaded.)
Let's see if it works well. I'm not optimistic, because  it's rare that successes in new media are done by companies which were successful in old media. It tends to be more organic than responding to brute force. Otherwise Microsoft would be king of the internet, search engines, music, etc.
Not to be cynical, but it's a bit amusing to watch an 80-year-old ultra-establishment newspaper baron stand up and speak about creating a Fresh New Voice in media!       :-)

But the price, 99c per week, is right, and from the video, at least the interface seems simple and well thought out. Most reading app interfaces on the iPad suck toxic muck through a rubber hose. Confusing. And on many you can't even change the text size! Talk about missing the basics.

Here is an interesting article about the new-fangled e-reading formats.
As for the “newspaper industry,” those people and organizations that are able to adapt to new technologies and markets will do just fine. But “newspaper” is not the same as “journalism.” Let’s not confuse the wine with the bottle [my emphasis]. The economics of newspapers as we’ve known them for 50 years have changed. Yet for many of the jobs that people long hired newspapers to do — weather, sports, classifieds, movie times, local news — better and cheaper alternatives have emerged that show demand is still strong for that kind of information. That demand may no longer support the overhead and margins expected by a newspaper company, but that’s OK with me.

It is not OK with people in the newspaper business, but heck, if they had been in the typewriter business, it would have happened sooner.

Now I think about it: newspapers are not for "journalism". Who reads papers to read well-researched and well-written articles? They read them to get gossip and to get weather info and classifieds etc. And this is being taken over by the Internet in various forms. The percentage of newspaper readers who would pay to read "well-written articles" is minuscule.

I'm test-driving The Daily now, and it's not bad. Doesn't have much in the way of content for me of course, I don't care much about politics or sports or fashion for example, and I'd like it to have a technology section, but the interface is indeed good. Except, haha: you can't change the text size! The one they have chosen is not bad, but for older readers text size is an issue, and it's one of the great advantages of a tablet that you can change it. If they just design the pages for it, that is. In fact, an electronic publication shouldn't even have "pages", that's an outdated concept based on paper.

1 comment:

franklin the turtle said...

It doesn't work me, as I have no interest in politics, sports, fashion, world events, technology, or modern day comic strips. Dang!