The Daily’s Next Challenge

What can the iPad newspaper do to make itself relevant?

When the highly-anticipated iPad news outlet The Daily launched on February 2, it was met with mixed reviews. Many readers and critics loved the design, hailing it as a game-changer; while CJR and others, who focused on the actual news content inside the shiny package, found it lacking. Today, two bits of news beg the question, What’s next for The Daily?

First, a leaked memo from editor in chief Jesse Angelo to his news staff, imploring his reporters to quit “scraping the web and the wires” and hit the streets for original stories instead. As silly as the examples he gives are—and as much as people are falling all over themselves cracking jokes about his suggestion that his staff busy themselves finding the nation’s “oldest dog,” Angelo is right to worry about The Daily’s relevance. Much of the criticism we’ve given The Daily is based on our opinion that, bells and whistles and tech-wow aside, the first daily iPad newspaper doesn’t have much to say. Angelo writes,

Force the new White House press secretary to download The Daily for the first time because everyone at the gaggle is asking about a story we broke. Get in front of a story and make it ours—force the rest of the media to follow us. It’s good stories that will keep people coming back to The Daily—we’ve assembled a crack news team, so let’s show the world what we can do.

Also today, news broke that News Corp is extending the free trial period of The Daily—from two weeks to four—to time the roll out of paid subscriptions with a new update to the Apple store. That will also give The Daily two more crucial weeks to impress its readers enough that they’ll want to sign up when the free preview is over.

So we ask, whither The Daily? What’s your assessment of this new outlet? What are the most interesting things they’ve done? Have they broken any worthwhile stories? Or is that not their role? What would you recommend The Daily do to lure readers to come back for more?

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The Editors are the staffers of Columbia Journalism Review. Tags: , ,