Is The Daily in trouble? Editor tells staff to find better stories

Only weeks into the life of New Corporation’s iPad only title The Daily its editor, Jesse Angelo, has sent a memo to his editorial team telling them that they need to go beyond “scraping the web and the wires”.

What he wants to see is them out on the ground doing some reporting and finding more “compelling” stories. You would think that this is the kind of thing that would have been set out in the vision for The Daily from the start. Apparently not.

The memo suggests that The Daily, just two weeks old, is already in trouble with the staff having no clear idea of what it is supposed to be or what some of them are doing.  This isn’t the kind of memo that an editor should be sending to staff after the launch of a title.

The irony is that existence of the memo (in full below) leaked on the same day that Apple announced its new content-based subscription service for publishers with which News Corporation launched The Daily launched with.

Subscriptions purchased from within the App Store are to be sold using the same App Store billing system that is used to buy millions of apps and In-App Purchases.

Apple says publishers set the price and length of subscription (weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, bi-yearly or yearly) and then with one-click, customers pick the length of subscription and are automatically charged based on their chosen length of commitment.

Apple CEO Steve jobs said that the philosophy was simple: “when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30% share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100% and Apple earns nothing.

Jesse Angelo’s memo to staff in full

Subject: The News

Folks, Egypt is over – time for us to get focused on covering America.

We need to get out there and start finding more compelling stories from around the country – not just scraping the web and the wires, but getting out on the ground and reporting. Find me an amazing human story at a trial the rest of the media is missing. Find me a school district where the battle over reform is being fought and tell the human tales. Find a town that is going to be unincorporated because it’s broke. Find me a story of corruption and malfeasance in a state capitol that no one has found. Find me something new, different, exclusive and awesome. Find me the oldest dog in America, or the richest man in South Dakota. Force the new White House press secretary to download The Daily for the first time because everyone at the gaggle is asking about a story we broke. Get in front of a story and make it ours – force the rest of the media to follow us.

It’s good stories that will keep people coming back to The Daily – we’ve assembled a crack news team, so let’s show the world what we can do.