Last week, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp introduced its latest endeavor, the highly anticipated iPad-only newspaper called The Daily. In its first week of existence, The Daily has been the focus of much attention, not all of it positive. Media watchers question Murdoch's unabashed advertising, potentially inappropriate interviews, and non-stop shameless promotion of the iPad. The following are the most memorable moments from The Daily's first week.
1. February 2 marked The Daily's launch. It was also a day that saw the start of significant violent clashes in Egypt, as horseback-riding pro-Mubarak forces attacked protesters in Cairo. Many were shocked that Fox News took significant chunks of time away from Egypt coverage and gave it not to the severe weather slamming the U.S. that day but to coverage of The Daily's launch and a lengthy sit-down interview with Rupert Murdoch.
- Mediaite's Colby Hall noted the "odd" choice of coverage, writing that "the Fox News decision to forgo real news coverage in Egypt for the promotino of a new commercial information platform (from which they hope to profit) seems to be at best a perfectly ironic example of the state of media today."
- Alex Seitz-Wald, at Think Progress, had hoped the Washington Post's ombudsman's November criticism of the newspaper's coverage of Kaplan, a subsidiary of its parent company, was a good sign that legitimate news sources could recognize significant conflicts of interest. Watching The Daily coverage last week caused Seitz-Wald to a lament, "Fox, however, is happy to run nearly an hour of explicit promotional programing with little news value for its parent company, anchored by its senior vice president for business news, while major events unfold at home and abroad--all without any hint of serious reflection."
2. The next day, The Daily published a video interview with Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, taken just days before she was shot. Under the headline "Gabby's Touching Video," the interview was more of an endorsement for the iPad combined with photos of Giffords and her husband before the shooting and in the hospital. The article below the video notes that in the midst of her recovery, involving "rigorous speech therapy," Giffords is still using "her favorite gadget: the iPad." The interview garnered negative attention from several bloggers who questioned The Daily's intentions in airing it.
- Joe Coscarelli at The Village Voice called The Daily's use of the video "insensitive and uncool." Even if it is true that Giffords is using her iPad in recovery, "that this is being delivered, for those most fortunate, to an iPad newspaper seems quite callous! Or clueless?" writes Coscarelli. "To do so on day two, with packaging that could be described as inexpert, sympathy-wise, comes across as a tasteless reach for publicity, trading on a name that is exponentially more popular than it was when the spot was filmed, but not less self-promotional." He clarifies, "it's not that the story isn't interesting or true, but it's still enough to trigger a wince and a cringe."
3. Another questionable Daily story involved reporter Justin Rocket Silverman testing out a theory that people's hearts beat together when they are close or in love. Silverman donned a heart monitor and went out on three blind dates with women all wearing the devices. The result: three awkward interactions with women who all looked very uncomfortable. The point of this report is unclear, but at least the iPad got a plug. During his first date with Jenna, the "22-year-old blond beauty, fresh out of college and new to the big city," Silverman throws out a theory that would seem totally random and insignificant if not for the fact that The Daily is an iPad paper: "I wonder if iPad usage might interfere with people's sex lives?" He gives Jenna a heads up: "If you and I ever decide to date, and find ourselves sleeping at one or the other's house, I think we should try to charge our phones in a different room, just as an experiment to see how it goes." Needless to say Jenna's heart was not in sync with Silverman's after this comment.
4. Not everyone in the US is a football fan, but the highly produced advertisements that have become synonymous with the Super Bowl drive many people to watch the yearly sporting event just for the commercials. Knowing this, NewsCorp decided to introduce most people to its new iPad app via an elaborate commercial aired during the Super Bowl on Fox. "Because if you owned the network broadcasting the Super Bowl wouldn't you run a commercial for your newest invention?" asked Glynnis MacNicol at Business Insider. Alexia Tsotsis at TechCrunch points out that the Daily advertisement "offered nothing distinctive branding-wise but cost $3 million dollars, which means that he could have offered a year subscription at $40 to 75k people instead of buying the ad. Something tells me that might have been a betters strategy." And at Web Pro News, Chris Crum wonders if, since the jury is still out on whether or not iPad app is worth paying for and several bugs have already been noticed, it's "perhaps not the best time for a big, expensive Super Bowl ad (if it's not ready for primetime)."
5. This Tuesday's issue of The Daily featured part one of a three part interview with The Winklevoss twins, the duo suing Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook, the idea they claim Zuckerberg stole from them back at Harvard. The first part of the interview contains a little over two minutes of digging at Zuckerberg's character over images of the twins sculpting their muscles and walking back and forth from the boathouse to the lake. Towleroad confuses the interview, which is conducted by a childhood friend and informs those who saw The Social Network that the Winklevi are still rowing, with an Abercrombie commercial. Gawker's Maureen O'Conner writes, after commenting on the video's homoerotic overtones:
The Winklevii want their story to be a "David and Goliath" tale, wherin they--a physically flawless pair of multimillionaire Harvard legacy bluebloods--fancy themselves meek rock slingers...The Winklevoss-Zuckerberg spat continues to be the most asinine battle betwee the most well-connected Harvard men in America.
At least the pair don't mention how often they use their iPads.
6. Today, The Daily's one-week anniversary issue includes what looks like a remake of the recent documentary, "Waiting for Superman." The Daily video features clips from Waiting for Superman mixed with an interview with the film's main characters: Harlem Children's Zone President Jeffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee, John Legend, and even the original documentary's director, David Guggenheim, conducted by Newcorp's Executive Vice President, Joel Klein. But the story is not about the film. Rather, it is a story about the failing education system featuring excerpts from and interviews with the stars of a popular documentary about the exact same thing.
7. And finally, perhaps the most significant development in The Daily's first week explains how we here at The Wire were able to obtain all of these exclusive articles before our individual iPads were delivered to the office. Just one day after The Daily became available for paying iPad users, Andy Baio made The Daily: Indexed available to their cheaper counterparts. The Tumblr provides links to all of The Daily's articles allowing anyone free access and pretty much defeating the purpose and exclusivity of The Daily's iPad-only status.