Media Critics Take Sides Over Murdoch’s ‘Daily’

"Granted, I'm biased because the horse I have in this built on the principle of open networks, open platforms and making content freely available to everyone everywhere. But I just don't see how this is going to work out for them. Betting the ranch, even if it's a small ranch, on a single, closed platform runs counter to everything I know about long-term internet success. That kind of thinking isn't native to the present. It's native to the past. Good luck with that, guys."
"The creation of new journalism and paid content for emerging platforms is to be encouraged, even if that journalism and content is slower than and disconnected from that which already exists. Hey, it's not our money."
"There are dozens of reasons that it probably won't work, ranging from who is going to pay for that content to the awkward partnership with Apple. Furthermore, those who tend to be best at classic print journalism tend to be the worst at digital media. But when Rupert Murdoch puts this kind of talent and muscle behind it, I question all of those assumptions. Then when I am done with that self-evaluation (which is as refreshing as it is necessary), I think 'What does he know that I am missing here?' It just makes no financial sense to me."
"I predict failure over the short term. It is still too hard to compete with free; and the iPad's installed base is too small. But the significance is deeper; for the combination of Apple-Murdoch-paid apps is a harbinger of things to come. If the launch of Slate in 1996 marked the age of open news, the launch of the Daily in 2010 markst he beginning of a determind effort to end that era. The Daily may be the first effort in news, but I don't think it will be the last."
"Murdoch possesses more gambler in his thumbnail than all the other media moguls do in their entire beings. Before we ridicule his Daily as a desperate paywall ploy with an unproved editorial product, let's remember the payoffs of some of his big gambles--the Fox Network, Fox News Channel, BSkyB. He wins so big that we should not be quick to ridicule his follies. It doesn't surprise me that Murdoch, who turns 80 next year, is the first mogul to invest in this new-media format. I try not to predict because so few of my predictions come true. But for the sake of journalism, I hope he strikes it rich."
"I can't comment on it intelligently until I see it, but I think people will only pay for content that is unique and special, and I have yet to see an online/mobile news product that is unique and special."

"I find the Daily an incredibly interesting prospect. Even exciting. The major problematic thing, it seems to me, is the lack of links to the Web. I don't know if that's an insoluble problem or not. But even if it is, here are the main reasons I'm rooting for the thing and only somewhat less emphatically betting on it.

  1. It'll be custom-built from scratch. It's difficult bordering on impossible for the managers of any established media enterprise to create a great new digital entity.
  2. It's well capitalized; Murdoch now has experience in digital; and James Murdoch's lifelong best friend, a 17-year veteran of Murdoch newspapers, is the editor.
  3. Yet weirdly, and very interestingly, they've hired a super-hipster New Yorker writer with a hyphenated surname as its culture editor.
  4. Its informing idea is said to be a  combination of "a tabloid sensibility with a broadsheet intelligence." When we were starting Spy 24 years ago, we had something close to that very phrase in our business plan. It's what Gawker, in its way, has built its very profitable business on. It is the new-media sensibility in a nutshell, and it makes me eager to read it.
  5. There are almost eight million iPads out there already, and there will probably be tens of millions more by the end of next year.
"The things Murdoch has going for him are that he is starting from scratch, rather than trying to repurpose an existing newspaper (with its attendant legacy costs and lack of digital savvy), and he is using recurring credit card charges, which shape user behavior. What we don't yet know, though is how much of the current iPad excitement is a novelty premium in a one-vendor market. When there is competition from other content outlets and from other tablet vendors, the dynamics will be quiet different than today, making extrapolation from the present hard."
"The Daily is Rupert's big, wet kiss to Steve Jobs. It's as simple is that."
"The Daily is as viable as any newspaper--that is to say, it's a relic before it's born."

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