Tablet Journalism: Can Rupert Murdoch’s iPad Adventure Save the News Business?
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a link to a Web-based version of the article. Bizarrely, however, this Web content is not reachable from The Daily’s own website. Article headlines are indexed by the search engines, and screen shots of the articles can be reached via search result links from Google, Bing, et al.—but The Daily has deliberately avoided creating a navigation structure that would allow non-iPad users to browse, copy, or comment on the articles.* Everything is designed to keep you inside the app, where News Corp knows you’re paying for the content (or soon will be—everything at The Daily is free for the first two weeks, courtesy of Verizon). As Salon co-founder Scott Rosenberg puts it, “most of the apparatus of two-way communication that every serious digital publishing venture of the past 15 years has taken as a given is missing from The Daily.”
Exactly. In fact, The Daily is far more like a paper magazine—pre-packaged and self-contained—than it is like the Web. This may be a necessary compromise if news publications hope to create sustainable business models in the post-print era. But it’s definitely a departure from the wonderful media free-for-all that we’ve enjoyed over the past decade as one publication after another has given up on pay walls and simply dumped all of its content onto the Internet for free.
Personally, I’m glad that at least one company has taken this leap—and it makes sense that it would be News Corp, given that its Wall Street Journal is the only paper that has managed to impose online subscription fees without losing readers. I’m not sure how I would feel if the entire news industry went in this same direction. But we’ve got to try something, and The Daily is an interesting start.
*Addendum: Naturally, someone has already hacked together an unauthorized, external index to The Daily’s Web content.