February 16th, 2011


Murdoch, know thy market

Despite it's Newscorp source, I've been reading the free trial of The Daily, the first attempt at an iPad-only multimedia news periodical. It's an interesting idea, and I hope it catches on well enough for another, better news agency to imitate its better portions and fix it's blecherous navigation model.

That said, I won't be subscribing at the end of the trial. I suppose the reasons are threefold:

1. While less severe than Fox News, it clearly has Newscorp's notorious bias. The slant is quite pervasive. They were up-front about it in the Opinion section from day one, but I rather wish they kept it to that section.
2. The news content is a strict subset of what I get from my other news sources, while leaving out enough detail I don't get a full story- nor do I trust The Daily as an accurate source. (See also #1.) It can't drop any of my other news sources, and contains nothing new, so I have little reason to bother.
3. I have no intention of paying a dollar a week to be insulted.

That last one deserves some explanation.

Not that there's much to be said about it. It seems that there's some sort of contractual obligation to make at least three snide remarks about nerds and/or scientists and/or intellectuals as a group per issue, and as a member of all three groups, my tolerance has waned. I don't mind good-natured shared jokes, but a certain level of pervasiveness and manner of presentation does not make this feel good-natured; it feels overtly hostile.

It also seems like an extremely poor choice for the iPad market. True, iPad owners are unlikely to be open-source junkies, since the iPad is terribly locked down. But given that it's a highly optional gadget, they are likely to be on the nerdy side of things. If NewsCorp doesn't think that insulting a large chunk of their user base on an ongoing basis, even in jest, when that portion of the user base is already subject to and sick of constant similar remarks elsewhere, is going to affect subscription rates, they are insane.

Today's highlight was their "weird but true" sidebar noting recent research that procreation in space is unlikely to be successful, and remarks that it doesn't really matter because "the people who are interested in this sort of thing aren't likely to be having sex anyway." I do not really appreciate such remarks in my daily news. Frankly, they could make the remark about largely any group, whether I'm a part of it or not, and such a prejudicial joke would make me uncomfortable no matter what it is.

I've migrated to DreamWidth. The original post is at http://kistaro.dreamwidth.org/470851.html. View comment count unavailable comments at http://kistaro.dreamwidth.org/470851.html#comments; go ahead and use OpenID to post your own.
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