'The Daily' Really Is the "New York Post Goes to College"

As you know if you have been near the Internet, everyone is discussing The Daily, the Rupert Murdoch iPad publication that launched yesterday. You can meet the man who runs it, much-beloved of the Murdochs! The reviews are… all over the place. There is love! There is hate! I have not yet truly indulged but I have been reading some of their web-published stories, such as this very unusual feature: “AMISH SMUGGLERS’ SHADY MILK RUN”! It’s very bizarre stylistically. It has the short paragraphs and quirks of the Post—it opens with an “intriguing” and cloudy scene: a mysterious man delivers “contraband” to Manhattan! Oh gosh! But “he wasn’t selling them anything they planned to smoke, snort or inject.” No it’s just raw milk. Then come the government stats about this public health menace, and then a rather stilted scene back in Amish country with a “leading raw milk advocate.”

And then, at the end, our intrepid correspondent says that he will try some of the raw milk, despite his “very serious reservations.” And then he doesn’t tell us how it was!

Very rude.

This is a very weird thing, this whole story: it’s both pleasurable and simple, straightforward and without much opinion, and expected but teasing.

This seems true across the board: the fashion department says “When in doubt, pick stripes.” The piece on “doggie discos” covers the “late-night haven for hard-partying pooches and their owners.” You can learn about “why sequined shirts, bone china spoons and vegetable-dyed desert boots are on our radar.” This may become the most-read and most-successful publication of our time, is the thing! And I mean that seriously. It also may not.

The “New York Post goes to college” line is something that Peter Kaplan, now the editorial director at Fairchild’s fashion group, used to say frequently about the New York Observer‘s transition to the tabloid form a few years back. It was sort of true. But The Daily’s work so far rather feels like the New York Post after its gone off to a really good community college. Maybe I’ll feel more comfortable with it after it gets its associate’s degree. In Internet time, that’ll probably take place in the next two weeks.