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The Daily review

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Rupert Murdoch’s long-awaited iPad-only newspaper, The Daily, launched Wednesday to much fanfare. Featuring a magazine-style look with vivid, interactive photos, audio voiceovers, video features and a promise of up to 100 pages of daily news, at first glance it appeared to meet all expectations of a made-for-iPad publication.

Some of the more impressive features of the paper include the 360-degree photos and an immersive experience. Readers can flip through articles at the touch of a fingertip and share stories with friends through social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Meanwhile, we were told some of the less flashy content can be found for free on The Daily’s website. David Coates, managing editor of newspaper content at Vocus Media Research Group, especially likes the customizable sports pages where readers can follow their favorite professional teams in the NHL, NBA, NFL and MLB. This also includes a Super Bowl timeline of every game throughout history. In addition, sports lovers can easily find their favorite players’ Twitter handles, which have been harvested by The Daily staff.

“New times demand new journalism. The devices that modern era engineering has put into our hands demand a news service edited and designed specifically for them,” said Rupert Murdoch. “Simply put, the iPad demands that we completely re-imagine our craft. There is a growing segment of the population here and around the world that is educated and sophisticated, that does not read national print newspapers or watch television news. But they do consume media and they expect content tailored to their specific interest to be available anytime anywhere.” At 99 cents a week or $39.99 a year, the subscription rates are reasonable compared to the price of some daily newspapers that charge $1 or more a day for a print paper. And it’s a far cry from the $17+ it costs monthly for the iPad version of the Wall Street Journal. Subscribers will receive The Daily in the morning, and will be updated with news throughout the day.

The Daily offers six sections: News, Gossip, Opinion, Arts & Life, Apps & Games and Sports. After spending some time “flipping” through it, Coates said it seemed to be a cross between the soft news of the New York Post and a highly photo-centric magazine. “Quite honestly, this doesn’t look like groundbreaking journalism, outside of the art that is provided from the photo staff, which can be misleading because many of the photos are from the Associated Press,” he said.

The 360-degree photos are impressive, he noted, especially one feature on Venice, Italy. However, the story that accompanied the photo was only four paragraphs long. If you take stock in reports from the last few years that found consumers read less and skim more, then The Daily could be this generation’s ideal read.

Although Coates said the debut edition covered the tribulations of Egypt well, including some outstanding photos, the writing lacks the depth of newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, or Washington Post, he noted. “In fact many of the ‘stories’ were four paragraph briefs indicating what is going on in the other Middle East countries,” he said. The gossip section is celebrity-focused, and the opinion section provided an editorial about India’s film industry as well as a self-promoting editorial on the iPad’s impact on the world, noted Coates.

“Overall The Daily is a good interactive experience with video and photos that are well produced. It may take a while for the ‘newspaper’ to find its voice and realize what kind of news it really wants to focus on. As of yesterday, the news didn’t seem that in depth, but that could change,” he said. “The Daily is a nice distraction for a commuter on the train who doesn’t need to be informed, but wants to be entertained. For information, the New York Times, Washington Post or Los Angeles Times will provide consumers with more news, but those papers and websites might not be as much fun to ‘read’ as The Daily.”

–Katrina M. Mendolera

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