Early Reviews of the Web's 'Hometown Newspaper'
The Daily Dot wants to cover online communities like real life communities
The Daily Dot describes itself as "The Hometown Newspaper of the World Wide Web" and everyone is intrigued by what exactly that means. Launched by non-entrepreneur Nick White and former VentureBeat editor Owen Thomas, the new startup aims to cover what happens on the Internet in the same way that local newspapers cover what happens in small towns. This means that Daily Dot reporters do things like interview that guy who posted the funny Craigslist ad or learn the story behind that creepy YouTube video. Most people seem to agree that it's a nice enough idea, but that the hometown newspaper metaphor is a bit of a stretch.
What's ironic about The Daily Dot is the meaning behind their mission to shed light on the depth of shallow content. "One of the problems with The Daily Dot’s newspaper metaphor is this: If you’ve ever lived in a small town or read a newspaper from one, you know that many of the stories printed in them are of interest only to the people in that town, and in some cases, not even them," writes Mathew Ingram at GigoOm. "The biggest hurdle to enjoying The Daily Dot, a fun new online news site that launches today, is that its premise is based on a bad metaphor: The Internet is a community and The Daily Dot is its local paper," Heather Kelly at VentureBeat similarly says. "I think The Daily Dot is a great idea, but calling online communities 'neighborhoods' is so 1999," jokes Gawker's Adrian Chen.
Nevertheless, The Daily Dot makes for a fun read, because they're covering stories that other sites aren't. Executive editor Owen Thomas defends the site's premise on those grounds. "We really treated the video and the people in the interview as people not as objects," Thomas told Forbes in reference to a story about a YouTube video showing a girl playing with a dead squirrel. "We did basic reporting. We got their number and interviewed [the dad’s] wife. They're actually artists and have thoughts about child rearing. We got a great story."