The Daily, the first iPad-only newspaper, has announced that it is making major staff cuts and stripping away features. The announcement comes not long after reports that the title is in danger of being shutdown – and the cuts being made are certainly significant ones.
As AllThingsD reports, 50 full-time employees of The Daily are being released – that’s nearly 30% of the full-time staff. Two other big cutbacks are these:
— There will be no more separate Opinion section – occasional opinion pieces and editorials will be included within the News section (and clearly identified) and the Sports section is being partly outsourced: “Sports reporting will now be provided by content partners, like Fox Sports, while existing features like photo galleries and the ability to track favorite teams via a customizable sports page will remain.”
— The Daily now supports only portrait mode, though videos can still be viewed in landscape.
The press release from The Daily offers a positive spin on the changes and the reasons behind them:
The Daily will continue to invest in the content its readers use the most: original reporting, strong visual elements, great photography and video, award-winning design, infographics, and interactivity. These are the features that continue to make The Daily unique and that have seen heaviest traffic; they will make up a greater percentage of each edition going forward.
I’ve been a reader of The Daily since Day 1 and I’ve always wanted to support it as I like the idea of an iPad-only newspaper. Having said that, it has been hard to remain a supporter (and subscriber) to The Daily as it has had major performance issues and some very basic flaws right from the start. Even now, it continues to have major issues – for instance, despite being a Newsstand title, it never manages to download new content automatically or effectively in the background. And its content loading times are poor all the way round.
The most worrying thing is that is seems like the publishers of The Daily have never even paid any great amount of attention to getting the basics right. Judging by their press release, they still don’t recognize these issues. The switch to portrait only is very sad to see as well. I really don’t like it when any newspaper or magazine titles for iPad restrict us to just one reading orientation.
I’m not sure I’d bet on The Daily’s long term survival chances now. And if they don’t wake up and at least get the basics of performance right, I’m not sure it deserves to.
I know we have plenty of readers of The Daily here. What do you all think on this? Will The Daily still be here in a year’s time? Does it deserve to be?