Sighted for the digital papers death is that it just wasn’t making enough money. It had over 100,000 subscribers but was still making loses of around $30 million a year. This was down to the very nature of the publication.
Since its release, the iPad has changed the way we use the internet. As Wired said in 2010: “The web is dead. Long live the internet.” This is because, on mobile devices, we no longer rely on web browsing, but prefer apps as they involve less searching and more getting.
And that is partly why The Daily failed. If the iPad has reinvented browsing, then journalism through the iPad and mobile devices should also be a reinvention. For instance, if I wanted something that looked like a newspaper, laid out like a newspaper and provided the same format of information as a newspaper, I would go out and buy one.
There is a huge market on the iPad, and other mobile devices, for journalism to break this trend and do something truly original and unique, drawing in younger, more creative readers.
Something like that has happened this very week. In a week when a traditional form of journalism dies, a new one rises. Symbolia.
Symbolia is a new form of journalism that takes the old structures and throws them out. It provides the news in new ways via illustration. This is a complete change to what we normally expect and something all newspapers should be trying to do digitally. I’m not saying make all of them illustrated but try something new.
Also, although the iPad is Symoblia’s primary platform, it also breaks out of it too. If you don’t have a tablet, you can still subscribe to a PDF version of the magazine and view it on a traditional browser.
This is another area where The Daily fell down. It was impossible to share stories with others who didn’t have a tablet. That’s a real problem when news travels so fast through social media and sharing. You have to be able to see that news through any platform.
So in a week when such a high-profile digital magazine like The Daily dies, wannabe hacks need not be disheartened. If anything, this is the chance to get spotted and recognised by the industry for doing something completely new. You have to break the mould.
I’m not here to tell you how to do that. Heck, if I knew that I’d be doing it right now. All it takes though, is an idea that breaks the norm.
Yes, The Daily has gone, but the launch of Symbolia shows that inventive journalism and the iPad have yet to be tapped for their full potential. As wannabes we shouldn’t be afraid to do something new or something to reinvent the industry through tablets.
Who’s to say that the Guardian has it right online? Who’s to say Symbolia even has it right? But a key way to get yourself noticed, is to have a go. People are trying to be noticed by doing digital inventions as we speak. Daan Louter set up this little website so that he could be spotted by the Guardian.
If it fails, it fails. But even a failing isn’t necessarily failure, it just allows you to say what didn’t work.
After all, in the words of Thomas Edison: “I have not failed 700 times [to make a lightbulb]. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”