For the pages in the application that we can do it, we create mirror HTML pages. Those pages are out there on the web — they can be shared, they can be searched, you can find them out there... We know there are billions of other people sharing content on the web, and we want to be part of that.
The Daily's editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo
Andy Baio has created a Tumblr blog to index all of The Daily's content every day, linking to the web-based ‘sharable’ versions of articles primarily published through an iPad app. He expresses some concern about legal challenge, but later updates with this quote from Jesse Angelo.
It strikes me that regardless of the relative merits of The Daily itself this mechanism might be a decent hint at the future of newspaper publishing.
There is tension against pay-walls cutting from the world. Both because it's annoying for non-regular readers of a publication not to access individual articles, and also because it results in articles skipping historical archival.
There is also tension against entirely advertising driven journalism. The negative impact on the experience of reading an article to begin with, the negative impact on the quality of journalism as it veers toward link-bait, flame-bait sensationalism to drive advertising revenue at the expense of story, and of course the risk of editorial compromise.
The Daily's strategy is a dedicated app for one particular device, that operates in place of the traditional newspaper, with the bulk of the article content mirrored on perfectly serviceable web pages, but with no index, no front page, no way for someone to read their content as a publication without investing in the app.
Put aside their decision to release specifically on iPad and apply the theory to anything, even just to having a separate website. Newspapers could publish this way, putting atomic articles onto the web for reference and people would pay for their news from their chosen publication to get access to the actual edited aggregation of daily content. Perhaps as an ad-less front page on the web, perhaps in the form of dedicated device applications.
You charge people for the heightened experience of reading, not for the content itself. And, of course, it doesn't need to be a binary arrangement; arguably existing ad-supported newspaper sites like the Guardian are doing this by charging money for their apps, they're just not framing it as analogous to buying a newspaper. It's also the model of the relaunched Readability, which offers to compensate publishers for their ad-free re-rendering of content with cuts from each subscriber's monthly fee.