The Daily (US-only)

The Daily (US-only)

Murdoch’s first off the blocks with an iPad-exclusive newspaper, but does this early bird catch the digital worm?

The iPad can sometimes be seen as a solution looking for a problem, and the world’s first iPad-only newspaper is, perhaps, it. Which isn’t to say that The Daily is any way problematic; it’s a perfectly functional news app. It’s just inaccessible to so many vast tracts of the app-using public that, in many ways, its existence has to be questioned from the very outset.

It’s not even like the paper particularly makes use of the iPad’s unique features. Reorientating the screen often fudges the display, filling it with blank spaces to the point where portrait view is the only real option, and its use of interactive features is scant when prepared to other similar, though not as self-contained, forays into digital news provision.

Still, what’s here and interactive makes fairly novel use of some of the possibilities a portable device has to offer.

Interactive features include informatic diagrams with touchable elements to reveal extra material, polls on news topics linked to The Daily’s servers in order to reassure yourself that everybody else /also/ believes in freedom of speech for controversial bloggers, or a similar issue of the day, and the usual embedded video material. It’s a sound touch that The Daily’s own news team puts these video reports together, and again adds to the paper’s unique feeling of an absolutely self-contained news source.

Again, though – it’s difficult to judge if the digital platform is the best place to be fed such a singular angle of news.

With so many services (see On the Other Hand…) aggregating news from services you can pick yourself and consolidate with ease in the palm of your hand (and for free), The Daily’s approach feels like an uncomfortable middle ground between embracing the future while holding readers firmly back in the physical media age.

The newspaper’s editorial stance isn’t even blessed with a particularly individual voice; hedging its bets with a rather disproportionately tiny output of news, largely a-political opinion writing, then launching with gusto into much safer “Gossip”, arts, apps, games and sports reporting.

All in all, it’s a brave experiment, but The Daily will have to prove its uniqueness runs beyond simply existing in order to hold a readership. Right now, it feels jack of all trades, master of none.

Rated 3 out of 5

All power to Rupert Murdoch for trying something new. He’s exploded into the tablet market with, if not confidence, a solid foundation on which to build.