Monday, January 17, 2011

Can the iPad Save Journalism?

COMING SOON TO an iPad near you: The Daily, a new journalism outlet designed for use only on iPads.

Will it work? Do people want to read news on mobile devices like this?

Do people care enough about news to actually pay for it?


Ben Lang said...

The problem here is demographics and the representing the values of journalism. Mobile device distribution is fine and dandy, but you can't focus on one platform otherwise you won't have the demographic size needed to profit. Apple might have 100,000,000 iOS devices sold total (only about 10% of which are iPads) so far, but that's a far cry from the 307,000,000 population of the US alone, not even taking the rest of the world into consideration. Rather than individual applications, news distributors should be making multi-platform web apps that universally work across all platforms, including basic phones that only have WAP browsers so that those in developing countries also have access to news. The penny press era ushered in affordable news access covering topics that people of that income cared about, and they were very successful. There's money to be made by continuing to lower the bars to news access; we shouldn't be going backward by making news exclusive to a single, expensive, platform.

Digital news definitely reduces costs for the company publishing by eliminating printing hardware and supplies and distribution routes, but it passes those costs onto the reader, and not everyone can afford them. The number of people who can pick up a $2.99 news paper is hugely different than those that can afford an iPad which ranges from $399 on the low end to $829 for the top end model.

And let's not forget, even if you can afford and iPad, they aren't available in every country.

Ben Lang
Former J1111 student

Brynn said...

I believe that The Daily for the iPad is an excellent idea. I personally know multiple people with iPads, an obvious indicator of their presence in the states. The NYTimes app for the iPhone and iPad, another news app, has done so fantastically that in the year 2011 it will no longer be "free", but will now warrant a charge to be downloaded. This is again an obvious sign of how well news can do on mobile devices. And of course people care enough about news to pay for it. People still pay for their newspapers, donations for their favorite radio stations, and for their magazine subscriptions. And if other news apps for Apple have flourished in the past, who is to say The Daily won't do the same? I think this new journalism outlet is the perfect addition to the growing and changing world of digital and mobile technology.

Brynn Zech

Janelle Donnelly said...

The technological advances made in the last few years are only a fraction of what's to come. The iPad has bridged the gap between print and technology momentarily, until the next bigger and better device is revealed. The iPad provides it's owners with both the satisfaction of using a state of the art device and nostalgic comfort of reading the NY Times or other forms of media. It is my hope that this form of technology will be appealing to most, urging developers to continue merging print with technology in a similar fashion.

Afshan Ali said...

The cynic that I am, I have little faith in these techno-crazy gadgets to actually make people interested in the news. Yes, everyone who has an IPod or IPad or whatever, they will download the "News" application. But do we honestly think that people will check the news everyday on their handheld device? When headline news on the TV has turned into a 30second recap on the most important stories, I find it hard to believe that people's attention span is big enough to absorb any more information. If it's too difficult for people to sit and watch the news, is it realistic to think that people will actually read the news?