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News Corp's The Daily iPad App Shutting Down On December 15 106

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the miserable-failure dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news that, as predicted, the iPad only newspaper The Daily failed. From the article: "The goal of The Daily was to provide a modern spin on the news cycle by delivering world news draped in a multimedia experience. In other words, The Daily devoted a lot of resources towards adding photos, video, and touch controls to news stories that would otherwise be static. ... It was announced today that The Daily will be closing up shop on December 15 after failing to rake in the dough."
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News Corp's The Daily iPad App Shutting Down On December 15

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  • by Press2ToContinue (2424598) * on Monday December 03, 2012 @09:42PM (#42175225)

    I firmly believe there are two groups of people: those who want information to "feed" them (passive learners) and those who want to drive the learning experience (active learners.) The passive learners want to have information pushed on them, and have it entertain them and distract them, a la Mythbusters style. The active learners don't want their information to move, wiggle, flash or distract them. They have decided what they want to know and are trying to learn it quickly and efficiently. The active learners go to great pains to get websites to stop moving, flashing, spinning and otherwise try to grab their attention so they can focus on their reading. The passive learners (children, those without a learning goal) would not complain about distractions on websites, instead they seek them out, but generally would not be seeking studious information anyway. Probably more the entertainment and sensational-style news-consumers I would think.

    I believe this "newspaper" experiment points out that their target audience consisted of a more mature customer, active-learner, seeking "newspaper-style" news and prefered to drive the experience and learn quickly and efficiently. I don't believe the experiment failed, I think they just misunderstood their audience.

    Perhaps if they had tried that with news aimed at grade-school age children they would have found a different acceptance rate.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2012 @10:05PM (#42175365)

    Posting as AC for obvious reasons.

    I interviewed for a job to fix their platform architecture and duck-tape together a proper QA setup for them almost a year ago. What a bunch of idiots! HR and my (thank god) not-to-be manager were absolutely clueless, had no idea what they were talking about and were blatantly unprofessional. The office was "Everyone has a 27-inch iMac and a matching 27-inch thunderbolt display" kinda tech (I'm not joking) and the their 'tech guy' who dropped in the interview asked, "I see PHP on your resume. That's a scripting language, right?" I couldn't make this shit up. Somehow this bunch of incompetent fools managed to turn out a digital publication, no wonder they failed.

    Another NewsCorp entity tried to hire me for an iOS QA lead role, and they constantly complained about the quality of their developers. First, I was shocked they could even try to recognize quality, but then I realized that having to wear a tie M-F (non-negotiable) and arriving strictly at 9am, with no perks to speak of, yeah, they were only going to get shitty iOS developers.

  • by Kittenman (971447) on Monday December 03, 2012 @10:12PM (#42175413)

    I firmly believe there are two groups of people: those who want information to "feed" them (passive learners) and those who want to drive the learning experience (active learners.)

    Isn't passive learning a contradiction in terms?

    I remember when you could buy a tape that would teach you French/Algebra/Brain surgery while you slept. You played it on a cassette under your pillow. If it worked (it didn't) that would be passive learning.

    BTW I also look askance at people who say that there are types of people. There are many types of people. The ones who generalize and a whole lot of others.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday December 03, 2012 @10:59PM (#42175687) Journal

    I'm not sure that the grandparent poster's distinction is drawn quite correctly; but I'd argue that it does fall somewhere near the truth. It isn't really the activity or passivity of the learning that differs; but the activity or passivity of the volition to seek out information according to some internal objective, vs. a willingness to attend to whatever information a nearby stimulus is providing.

    That said, the distinction is only really sharp in somewhat extreme or rather contrived cases: 'Child who reads about stuff for fun vs. child who listens in class and delivers solid Bs, and doesn't touch a data source at all on vacations and weekends' type of thing. In situations where you don't necessarily know what you don't know, the 'active' learner will also function by seeking out people or reference material that know more than he does and listening to them, just as the 'passive' will(if it will be on the test, of course).

    The other confounding factor is probably reading speed. People vary widely, surprisingly widely even within similar educational and social backgrounds, in how fast they can read. In my experience, it seems that people who can read atypically fast, substantially faster than 'normal' speaking pace, tend to find assorted 'multimedia enriched content', 'educational TV' and even informational radio rather galling unless used purely as background noise for a primary task.

    People who read as, or more, slowly than a normal speaking speed, though, tend to enjoy audio and audiovisual information presentation much more. It seems sensible enough: without rather clever algorithms(which are rarely used for this purpose) you can't speed up audio without going all Alvin and the Chipmunks on it, and people don't. Text, though, (aside from messy typography questions which can make things more or less legible) is read at a pace controlled by the viewer, not the producer. If you read quickly, audio and A/V will feel inefficient, because they are. If you read slowly(and don't suffer from any notable verbal-comprehension impediments), audio and A/V will feel engaging; because it is both faster than text and far more 'natural' and less fatiguing than an attempt at speed reading.

  • by samkass (174571) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @12:23AM (#42176109) Homepage Journal

    ...Except that this is about The Daily, which definitely had a right-wing bias. I stopped reading it pretty early because I was tired of it bashing Obama and his policies every chance it got. It's one thing to provide analyses and counter-arguments, but they'd interject editorial comments all over the place without a shred of evidence. There are enough other places to get news... don't need what amounted to FOX News Tablet Edition.

  • by ledow (319597) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:20AM (#42177403) Homepage

    People still *watch* the news? I can't even remember the last time I actually watched a news story on TV or online.

    Personally, I can't think of anything worse than being drip-fed only the news others want to give me, only the news that's "exciting" on video, only the news that can occupy time on-air, only the news that needs a 500Mb download in order to get the gist when 1000 words and a couple of links give me infinitely more information, etc.

    I'm not a news-snob, I don't really care what I read because I take it *all* with a pinch of salt and anything interesting I run off and check facts myself. But being force-fed video of someone else's news is probably the worst thing I can imagine in terms of actually absorbing the information within, without finding out what's actually going on, and just allowing yourself to be "brainwashed".

    Ever seen the 80's UK comedy series "Drop the Dead Donkey"? Set in a news-room, there's a character called Damien who is the guy who runs out with a camera and comes back with something visual to run. Every time I hear someone *watches* the news, I think of him using the same teddy bear as "the shot" for everything from an air crash to a terrorist attack to a motorway accident to a flood. It can't be far off the truth of how much news is twisted to make it visually appealing.

    News isn't a thing in and of itself. It's a trigger for you to run off and find information on something, well, new. Anyone who just "consumes" news nowadays was probably not bright enough to move on from 70's-style news programming.

    But I agree, the intersection was vanishingly small, especially when combined with "willing to pay to read a news paper". I haven't paid for a newspaper in my entire life, but I read several of the free ones for entertainment. I get most of my actual news from sites specialising in my interest. If I waited for the things that I *do* find interesting to come on the news, I'd die before I saw anything. But if I ever want to watch a cow being rescued from a flood, I'm sure I'd only have to wait about a week or so.

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