Published January 31, 2011
I’m not only an avid reader, I’m an obsessive Apple iPad user. So bring on The Daily!
Of course I'm excited that my bosses at News Corp. on Wednesday will launch The Daily, the first iPad-only newspaper -- and not just for the brown-nosing points.
Through apps like Flipboard, Instapaper, The Economist and The Wall Street Journal, I'm constantly reading news on the iPad. I find myself more focused on long-form content when reading on it, whereas on my desktop computer, I'm too busy with other tasks to read. That's why the iPad lends itself so well to news -- and why I think taking advantage of this platform to completely redesign the concept of a newspaper is so brilliant.
Again, I'm not just looking for brown-nosing points. I mean it.
No one at News Corp. asked me for design tips, but if they had, I would have had a few orders. Here are the top 5 things I'm hoping to see from The Daily.
1. Innovative sharing. I'm okay paying for news as long as it doesn’t feel like I’m trapped in an app, reading by myself. Great content needs to be shared. And news becomes great when it is discussed. It frustrates me to find a great article or video and not be able to share it with my family or on my social networks.
I’m not sure how sharing will work with anyone who isn't a paid subscriber or who doesn't have an iPad. And what if I want to Tweet an article? Where does it link to if The Daily doesn’t even have a website?
2. Deep links to other content. Speaking of websites, what if The Daily wants to reference another non-Daily article? Can it link off the app to that article, or are you stuck inside of the pay-wall reading The Daily and nothing but The Daily? That's not really preferable.
My hope is that the app will be a part of what Jeff Jarvis, the director of the interactive journalism program at the City University of New York’s journalism school, calls “the link economy.” It needs to be part of the conversation that is happening around any given topic allowing readers to push further and further into a subject at their discretion.
3. Clippable stories. Think about how we used to clip out articles of interest from the newspaper. My father still takes scissors to the local paper and saves his clippings in his office.
If The Daily is really a next-gen newspaper, it has to allow for some kind of digital clipping and saving. I’d like to save the travel articles about places I’d like to visit in one folder. Or biographies that I enjoy in another. Or restaurant reviews on places I would like to eat. You get the picture. If I'm paying for this newspaper, I’d like to keep the content that I am paying for in one spot that I can organize by folders and search by keyword.
4. Video. I happen to know that News Corp. knows a thing or two about producing professional news video. Case in point: Fox and Friends. I’d like to see the same standards applied to The Daily.
A lot of news networks take their TV programs and chop them up into little bits and pieces for the Internet. It isn’t very satisfying to watch. I’d like to see video for The Daily made specifically for the iPad. I don’t want leftover news from the network. I want video that takes advantage of the platform.
5. All In One. I want it all. If I'm willing to pay for this app (which I am), I want it to cover its bases in all types of news -- and I want it to be exhaustive in each news category. I want to be able to understand what is going on in the world of finance on any given day by reading the finance section. The same goes for politics, technology, sports, etc.
The world of online news is noisy. Look at Google News and you’ll get a sense of how many people are talking about the same things. I don’t want to have to wade through that any longer. I want The Daily to sum it up for me expertly, concisely, and thoroughly.
And if these demands aren't met verbatim -- well, I guess I won't do much. I like my job, after all. But I'm sure eager to see what Rupert Murdoch has come up with.