white noise

by Jordan Green

News and views from inside the media bubble 


Breaking news about technology and media often comes in a mad dash between competing outlets in the global power centers of San Francisco/Silicon Valley, New York and London, with each media entity hyper-linking to the others in an attempt to have the most comprehensive, up-to-date report. In the case of news about media titan Rupert Murdoch’s plans to develop a subscriber-based newspaper exclusively for Apple’s iPad electronic tablet, all roads appear to lead to the Sunday Guardian in London. Will the Daily be a crucial innovation in the delivery of news to readers, or will it be a bust along the lines of Murdoch’s acquisition of MySpace? The salient aspect of the venture appears to be the fact that its creators are jettisoning the traditional print companion that is typically justified as a requirement for attracting ad revenue. Without the costly overhead of paper, ink and overland distribution, the venture can prioritize attracting talented staff and paying for reporting (one prestige hire is said to be New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones). The model depends on creating premium content that readers would be willing to pay for, but the cost is relatively low and consumers are already in the habit of paying for additional applications on handheld devices. The subscriber fee is reported to be 99 cents per week. Such a venture will likely exploit economies of scale to produce a newspaper with global reach, catering to a highly educated and savvy readership. Am I sweating my job yet? My guess is that the new media empire can only infiltrate local coverage so much. When the Daily has a reporter at Greensboro City Council briefing sessions, I’ll start to rethink my career plans.