Details are emerging about News Corp's forthcoming tablet newspaper, The Daily. News Corp has spent the last three months putting together a newsroom that will soon be 100-strong, said WWD's John Koblin. The Daily will launch in beta around Christmas and will be offered to the public in early 2011, on the iPad and other tablet devices.
Koblin's sources said that the new paper will aim to have "a tabloid sensibility with a broadsheet intelligence." The editorial page is expected to have "a sort of optimistic, populist stance," he said
The staff are already at work in the News Corp building on Sixth Avenue in New York, though will move floors once their office is ready. There will be no foreign bureaux - The Daily will be covering the US only - and as yet there are no plans for a DC bureau, Koblin said, although politics will be covered.
Yahoo! blog The Cutline reported that the names of those who might staff it have been leaking out, mentioning the "increasingly high-profile masthead that suggests the Daily will be a force to be reckoned with." WWD said that The Daily is "staffing up with a lot of bright, young twentysomething journalistic talent working at media properties throughout the city."
WWD specified that as well as Jesse Angelo, who was managing editor at The New York Post before Rupert Murdoch asked him to head up the new project, three managing editors have been chosen - Mike Nizza, Steve Alperin and Pete Picton - and a publisher, Greg Clayman. Richard Johnson is leading a team of reporters to cover Los Angeles.
Koblin noted that the daily publication (7 days a week) is expected to cost 99c a week, or about $4.25 a month.
Does a tablet-only newspaper make sense? For now, the audience will be niche, but as tablets become the norm rather than an exclusive product, the potential for attracting readers will surely grow. The arguments for not launching a new print product in this day and age are clear, and many online-only publications have appeared in recent years. So why not one aimed at a digital medium that is proving itself to hold readers attention and offers significant potential for innovation in terms of presenting content?
Launching only on a tablet might be limiting, but maybe the paper will have an online offering too. It will be interesting to see how innovative the purely tablet-focused publication can be, and presumably Murdoch and the News Corp team plan to take lessons from its experience and use them at other properties. And indeed it will be a useful experiment for the rest of the industry to learn from.