Lessons Learned

12.04.12

What the Fall of ‘The Daily’ Teaches the Media Industry

Don’t miss big technological trends, don’t lock up your content, don’t suck. Those are just a few of the takeaways media critics are drawing from the end of Rupert Murdoch’s iPad-only newspaper. The Daily Beast rounds up the best postmortems.

Tablet-Native Journalism is Impossible
Felix Salmon, Reuters


“I think that The Daily has taught us all an important lesson—which is that tablets in general, and the iPad in particular, are actually much less powerful and revolutionary than many of us had hoped. Specifically, far from being able to offer richer content than can be found on the web, they actually find themselves crippled in unexpected ways.”

The Daily Didn’t Fail, Murdoch Quit
Jack Shafer, Reuters

“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.”

Nobody Wants to Pay for General News
Marco Arment, Instapaper

“Well-established news sites are much better for news. Editorials and feature articles need to either be free, like most blogs, or consistently great and worth paying for, as in magazines such as The New Yorker or The Atlantic. But The Daily offered an overreaching mix of ineffective news coverage and unmemorable editorials and features. I’ve never seen anyone share a link to something in The Daily saying that we had to go read this great article that would make us want to subscribe.”

The Daily Missed the Sharing Trend
Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

The Daily doubled down on the mobile trend to the expense of the sharing trend. The social web is on the Web. The Daily isn’t. You can create a web page for a Daily article, but it’s cumbersome and renders somewhat awkwardly and isn’t ideal for frictionless sharing (i.e.: on most sites, you press a Facebook button and your work is done). News Corp built a populist newspaper away from where the people are. They’re on the Web.”

Why Was There a Sports Section?
John Gruber, Daring Fireball

“Maybe ‘newspaper’ is the wrong term, because it carries so much historical baggage. Just think: daily news app. You don’t necessarily need the scope of a traditional newspaper, with entire sections dedicated to business, entertainment, and sports. (Sports is particularly problematic for a national publication.) Those sections only made sense in the pre-Web world where most people had no other source of daily news than their local newspaper. My advice to a would-be daily news app today would be to simply do the A section: the front page, breaking news, major national and world news, and opinion. There’s no way you need $25 million per year to do that.”

The Daily Didn’t Have an Audience
Jeff Sonderman, Poynter

“It was difficult to grasp who exactly was the intended audience of The Daily. It excelled at interactive elements and visual appeal, but the contents were so sprawling and varied that it was tough to know who this publication was speaking for and to.”