The Daily, News Corp.’s attempt to create a newspaper for the iPad era, is shutting down after less than two years.
The media giant, which also owns this Web site, said it will “cease standalone publication” of the app on Dec. 15.
It says that “technology and other assets from The Daily, including some staff, will be folded into” News Corp.’s New York Post tabloid. The app/newspaper has approximately 120 employees.
The shuttering of The Daily has prompted an instinctual response of derision from various corners of the technology community. Whilst I can certainly understand the yearning to decry and undercut News Corporation's costly experiment, I tend to fall on the side of disappointment that the tablet-only publication has failed.
In many respects, The Daily is indicative of the trajectory and movements of the publishing industry. Moving into a digital-only, portable, and intensely visual package, The Daily was comprised of a great many ideas that will invariably prove to characterize the publications of the future.
At the end of the day, however, The Daily failed not because of a conceptual error, but due to a gross executional failure.
Rather than leveraging the agility available to digital publishers, The Daily relied upon a bloated, out-moded, and clumsy design. Moreover, the content therein fell far too closely to Huffington Post and far too distantly from New York Times.
In my eyes, The Daily is destined to become one of the first corpses in a new digital-only publishing world. And upon this corpse, others will sadly fall, too. The route to success is most certainly not an easy one, particularly in the publishing industry.
But, at the very least, from the failures of The Daily, we have a clearer vision than ever of what a digital publication must look like in order to succeed. Be it Marco Arment's The Magazine, Matter, or 29th Street Publishing, we can be confident that we're edging ever closer to the ideal format for contemporary devices.
And, amidst the derision and jokes, it's important to remember that The Daily experiment has contributed enormously to this education. As Brent Simmons said to me just over a week ago:
Even The Daily, for all its warts and wobbles, is a step in an interesting direction.
It's an exciting time for publishing. And although The Daily has failed, I applaud the sadly now out of work team for their audacity and effort.