The Daily Beast: A News Paradise

The problem with the news these days is that there’s too much of it.  When David Remnick, the Editor of The New Yorker, gave a talk at Syracuse University, he outlined his morning reading ritual, which consisted of reading through several news websites and print publications.  As much as we all aspire to match Remnick’s news habits, maybe they’re a bit unrealistic for most people.  Most of us wake up, gulp down a cup of coffee, glance at our e-mails, and check out one news website.  Maybe two, if we’re feeling ambitious.

Tina Brown, the former editor of The New Yorker, gets that most Americans simply don’t have the time, energy, or patience to thoroughly sift through all the news.  Her news website The Daily Beast launched on Oct. 16 and, like Arianna Huffington’s The Huffington Post, it serves to provide us with the big news of the day in one website.   The Daily Beast’s main function is to give readers a smart version of the news and, ultimately, save us time; indeed, The Daily Beast’s motto is “Read This Skip That.”

Unlike The Huffington Post, which is a jumble of dozens of stories, photos and ads, The Daily Beast is well organized, with three main colors (red, black, and white), and five manageable web pages.  Carefully placed buzz words, like “Cheat,” “Best,” “Magic,” and “Must,” entice the reader to check out new stories.

On Sunday Nov. 9, the homepage contained the top articles and videos from other sources and a surprisingly large collection of , seven, original stories. There was a story/blog by Tina Brown, called “Magic: How Obama Broke the Dark Spell,” and an article by Patricia Williams, a professor of law at Columbia University, called “Mutts Like Me,” which delves into the multiracial identity of 21st century Americans.

Tina Brown describes The Daily Beast “as a speedy, smart edit of the web from the merciless point of view of what interests the editors.”  That’s what I’m looking for.  I don’t want to waste time looking at dull lists of stories, psst… The Huffington Post; instead I want someone to ruthlessly select the interesting from the mundane and present it to me in a clear, engaging fashion.

Tina Brown’s decision to not use ads is genius.  Although Tina Brown says that she intends to build an audience first and then get advertisers, why not launch the first internet news website without ads instead?  Other similar news websites, like The New York Times, display over a dozen ads on every page, cluttering up the news content.  In contrast, The Daily Beast presents a clear, attractive news spread that’s easy to read.  It’s a news paradise.  In this fast paced world, isn’t that exactly what we need?

Now, I realize that without ads, there’s no revenue.  But what if an ad-free news website is the way to beat out the other competition?  If The Daily Beast can become the main source of online news, perhaps Tina Brown will find another way to make money.  Maybe, if The Daily Beast gets popular enough, it’ll be able to sell news stories for $0.99, just like iTunes does.

–Katie Photiadis

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