It’s been just under two weeks since Rupert Murdoch and Apple announced the debut issue of their iPad newspaper The Daily at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. “In this exciting new era, we believe The Daily will be the model for how stories are told and consumed,” said Murdoch, the News Corp. boss who invested $30 million in the product before launch. But despite hiring an unquestionably talented staff, in the 14 issues since its unveiling, the paper has made no noticeable splashes in the news cycle. The soft landing has clearly not gone unnoticed, with editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo sending a memo yesterday, obtained by New York‘s Daily Intel, urging his people to dig deep for big ideas. Mostly the memo just made us realize how much The Daily loves dogs. Seriously. As in, really, really loves them. But it also points to a few larger issues. Find out more below in Press Clips, our daily media column.
In The Daily so far, there have been some informational reports on the ground from Egypt, a video of Gabrielle Gifford (pre-shooting) plugging the iPad, a great James Franco graphic and a questionable “scoop” in the form of a photograph purported to be of the reclusive blogger Nikki Finke. (She maintains it’s not her.)
But much of The Daily‘s other content, while independently reported, can be seen elsewhere online earlier, considering the limitations of the iPad newspaper’s once-daily delivery. Angelo, the editor, acknowledges his paper’s reliance on previously reported stories in his memo:
We need to get out there and start finding more compelling stories from around the country — not just scraping the Web and the wires, but getting out on the ground and reporting. Find me an amazing human story at a trial the rest of the media is missing. Find me a school district where the battle over reform is being fought and tell the human tales. Find a town that is going to be unincorporated because it’s broke. Find me a story of corruption and malfeasance in a state capitol that no one has found. Find me something new, different, exclusive and awesome. Find me the oldest dog in America, or the richest man in South Dakota. Force the new White House press secretary to download The Daily for the first time because everyone at the gaggle is asking about a story we broke. Get in front of a story and make it ours — force the rest of the media to follow us.
It’s good stories that will keep people coming back to The Daily — we’ve assembled a crack news team, so let’s show the world what we can do.
The note, which begins with Angelo telling his staff that Egypt is “over,” has already been mocked thoroughly (most effectively by Juli Weiner at Vanity Fair online). There’s even a story generator up at DailyPitches.com. (Sample: “Give me a story about the fastest employer in Roxaneside.”)
But when Angelo asked for “the oldest dog in America,” it made perfect sense. In addition to that forthcoming feature (fingers crossed), there have already been four Daily pieces on dogs:
1. Puppy street-style last Thursday
2. Sunday’s cover story about the army executing dogs
3. A video on “canine couture” yesterday
4. And another story about a war hero-cum-“pooch handler” in today’s edition
But that’s not all! There’s also Obama’s high-speed train boonDOGgle (emphasis ours), which occurs twice, and the story of an Egyptian nicknamed Snoopy.
Of course, we’re mostly joking. Filling a daily publication is no easy task — and it is the week of the Westminster Dog Show — but as Angelo’s memo indicates, that doesn’t mean The Daily‘s content issues, at least in terms of generating buzz (especially online), are nonexistent. Perhaps the lack of a traditional website is proving to be more difficult than originally imaged and will be remedied. But in the meantime, the paper also seems to be pushing for some controversy, stirring things up a bit where they can.
Take, for instance, the hiring of the anonymous L.A. party girl Coke Talk for an advice column. Called Coquette in The Daily, a slightly tamer and punnier name, Coke Talk will be featured on Wednesdays and Sundays in the Arts section and promises to be “every bit as shady” as the original Coke Talk, though probably without most of the profanity. Considering she’s also publicized her constantly amusing weekend binges of drug-fueled group sex, Daily readers are probably in for a treat there.
Then, there are some stabs at media controversy as in today’s pithy, but pointed dart aimed at the AOL/Huffington Post merger. If anything, the bloggy take on media news (plus the aforementioned Finke semi-scoop) shows that The Daily, while maintaining a national scope and USA Today-ish vibe, cares about the eyeballs of local media insiders who will be crucial early adopters should News Corp. achieve the hit they covet.
[h/t Zara Golden]