The Daily blog crowed about their three, count ‘em, three different news covers yesterday tracking the fast-metamorphosing Egypt story. And they got some props for it from folks like PaidContent’s Stacy Kramer. Today, they’re proudly showing how they display a breaking-news ticker on their cover.
They’re working fast over there at News Corp., cranking out the New York Post-style headlines (“Gypt,” get it?). And that’s just great. It means that the Daily’s staff is rapidly ascending the same learning curve that the creators of the first wave of Web news sites experienced 15 years ago as they realized that a daily news cycle for any Internet-based operation was hopelessly rigid and slow. Their only problem is that they’ve baked the cycle into their brand name. Whoops.
What I’m wondering now is, what happens to all the cleverness of those cover headlines — and any other content that the Daily updates? How do you access the record of the past as recorded in the present by the Daily’s writers and editors? It’s not clear that the shareable, Web-based content pages have any permanence. On the 1.0 iPad app (I haven’t downloaded the update yet), there’s no apparent way to access past content that you haven’t chosen to save.
Right now, the Daily seems to be simply throwing away its archive. You pay for it, you read it and then the next day you can’t get it back. What will Heather Havrilesky, or any other Daily writer, do when they want to review their clips a year from now? What will anyone do when they want to go back and see what Havrilesky said about their favorite TV show?
This looks like just another way in which the Daily, even as it’s asking for your subscription dollars, seems to offer you less than standard, free news websites — which figured out a decade ago how to archive and preserve their back catalog.
It’s not as if the Web has solved every problem: I’ve been arguing for a long time now that news sites ought to be preserving every version of a story as it gets updated over time. I think the Web will gradually move to this “track-changes” method of preserving history, but plainly it’s going to take time. Still, it’s a shame to see the tablet universe start again from scratch.
Do we have to reset the learning clock at zero each time we move to a new platform?