"The Daily's Woes Proves Content, not Platform is King"

Charlie Warzel, reporting for AdWeek:

Specifically, The Daily has shown that in an increasingly platform agnostic world, fast, accurate, and easily accessible information takes precedence over flashy, stylistic layout. While few would criticize the rich and often striking design of The Daily's app, including its experimentations with responsive layouts for both portrait and landscape viewing, most of the crticisms of the digital newspaper centered around its rather generic content, geared to appeal to a seemingly undefined and generic audience.

... However, The Daily's ambitious experiment seems to be less about the efficacy of the paywall model and more about the importance of quality in the digital world. No one trendy digital innovation such as a tablet can save lackluster content. Perhaps that's been obvious all along, but at least now there is some proof to back it up.


Warzel's perspective is perhaps the most rational I've come across today. Contrary to Reuter's Felix Salmon, I do not think tablet reading and journalism is "dead." Rather, I think we're very much in the early stages of some intense experimentation.

And, with regard to The Daily, the experiment was carried out in a typically Murdoch-ian manner. Rather than focusing upon content, The Daily preyed upon the trendy iPad as the medium and stereotypically mid-00s gossipy Huffington-esque nonsense as the content.

As evidenced by the rise of The Magazine and Matter, we're on the cusp of a resurgence in long-form content. Having moved past the fleeting nature of earlier Internet content, we've arrived upon the precipice of truly thoughtful and considerate writing.

Building a publication amidst this environment which relies upon buzz-worthy headlines and controversial captions — all the while requiring lengthy download times — is simply an antiquated and ill-advised way to distribute the written word.

The Daily mustn't be misconstrued as evidence of a failing idea, but as a lesson in an idea executed in a woefully poor fashion.

It's not an indictment of the iPad or publishing, it's simply an indictment of poor decisions in a treacherous and unexplored environment.