My 2/13/11 Missoulian column
Newspapers often draft obituaries ahead of time for famous people. I’m not waiting on publishing my obit for The Daily, the new iPad news and media app that I covered last month. I give The Daily a life span of about six months:
New York City – The Daily, an iPad news and media app aged approximately six months, disappeared from the Apple iTunes store yesterday. The exact time of deletion is unknown.
The cause of death was the tragic hubris of News Corp. regarding itself as a reputable news source, and the high number of bugs as a result of programmers rushing to get the product out the door.
The Daily was born several weeks past term on Feb. 2, 2011, the child of Rupert Murdoch, $30 million and several hundred journalists and geeks.
The Daily was conceived as a new wave of journalism, that of an app solely for the iPad, Apple’s successful tablet computer.
Its embryo developed for a few months among the hard drives of Apple computers in an office building in New York City.
There were high expectations for the child. Important world news was pre-empted for its hour-long birth ceremony on Fox TV, where 100 pages of original news and multimedia was promised each day for 99 cents a week.
But The Daily had a tough life, and its code needed to be completely replaced several times in its first few months.
Readers soon recognized that The Daily was born with a congenital identity crisis: Was it serious journalism in a new high-tech format? Or just more Fox-style news and gossip that users had to pay for?
The Daily’s popularity tanked, and it failed to make back even a small amount of its funding. Programmer-assisted deletion was discussed, but the final decision went out by Murdoch himself in an e-mail.
The Daily was proceeded in death by other expensive Murdoch media ventures.
Survivors include those who wish they weren’t: journalists who will expunge The Daily from their resumes; programmers who will continue to have nightmares of endlessly scrolling screens full of code errors; and Murdoch himself, who wishes he just blew the cash one night in Atlantic City.
In lieu of flowers, The Daily subscribers would simply like their 99 cents back.
No services are planned. Bits and bytes have already been recycled by an unknown iTunes store staffer and a delete key.
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