The door is heavy

An upstart iPad newspaper has to make waves in a class dedicated to mobile technologies.

C.B. presented several questions for me to mull over on my gloriously unproductive triple snow day now turned into a six-day weekend.

  • This is the first digital/mobile-only platform from a major traditional news organization. Does it open the door?
  • Is The Daily a mobile product? Or is the iPad just a newspaper? Has Murdoch redefined the technology?
  • Would you subscribe? Will it get through 2011?

Collectively interpreted: Can one product save an entire industry?

Reports I’ve read have tagged The Daily with a witty style. The Guardian labeled it as having “a tabloid sensibility with a broadsheet intelligence.”

The Daily’s website lists its content as “incisive, optimistic and independent.”

Sure, journalism could use a few more publications like this one. They even have “optimistic” in their pseudo-mission statement.

I’m all for innovation.

I think our generation will change the entire industry. Murdoch is not of our generation, and The Daily will not fundamentally alter the current downward spiral of journalism.

As one blogger (Scott Rosenberg, co-founder of Salon) pointed out, online news is connected news. A paywall app/site will block users from linking and sharing content with friends who didn’t pay for it.

Sure, you can share a select article or two from the blog, but not much else.

Average case scenario: some people pay $39.99 a year for content that can’t be shared freely and could likely leak to the web via bloggers. Ahem, Ctrl/Cmd + C.

Worst case scenario: few people pay for content that is original and worthwhile reading, but can be found online for free. Cough, Ctl/Cmd + C.

This is a major step in journalism, if only for the fact that someone is thinking in a discovery-driven pattern. I’d rather Murdoch try 100 times and fail 100 times, than idly sit on his hands.

Still, this will only be a stepping stone in the annals of journalism history, a footnote among the myriad options that might work.

The majority of people will likely subscribe for a month or two as early adopters. Then readership will fall off, similar to how magazine subscriptions for the iPad have dramatically decreased in recent months.

The Daily is a stepping stone, but the door is heavy, and we’re not opening it yet. I’m sure the newspaper will make it through 2011, even 2012, but it’s not the road to salvation.

Wish I could say that I have the answer, the model that will change the paradigm in journalism. I’m working on it.

For now, this blizzardy cold is giving me a brain freeze.

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