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So, wait: The Daily uses AP content?

Much of what was “revealed” about The Daily today wasn’t much of a revelation: Even before the details were leaked this morning, pre-launch, on Gizmodo, we knew the publication’s subscription pricing, its general layout, its general advertising strategy, who its staffers are, whom those staffers were poached from, etc. One new element, though (or, at least, new to me), was the fact that The Daily is partnering with the Associated Press for its content.

One of the early articles featured on The Daily (you can find it on the web here, and a hat tip to both Poynter’s Steve Myers and Mediagazer’s Megan McCarthy for pointing to it) is a rundown about the snowstorms hitting the country this week. It features a byline from a Daily reporter, but a note at the conclusion: “— With Associated Press.”

That AP pseudo-byline, on its own, isn’t 100% surprising: Even with The Daily’s reported staff of 100, a publication with such sweeping aspirations — general-interest news coverage, in short-form and long-, in text and image and video, day in and day out — will require help when it comes to the classical journalistic practice that is feeding the beast. Still, the paper has made a point of hiring celebrated writers to staff it (see, for example: “Frere-Jones, Sasha”) and of celebrating the “wit” and “verve” and “attitude” and “punch,” as editor Jesse Angelo put it today, of its articles. It’s been marketing itself as a kind of Walmart-meets-Saks situation: High-end, but in bulk.

And it’s been selling itself, furthermore, as a place to go for original content. As its website — which, at this point, is pretty much a sales pitch for the app — puts it: The Daily is “a tablet-native national news brand built from the ground up to publish original content exclusively for the iPad.”

Apparently “original” here means “not aggregated.” Which is fair enough. But — no offense to the AP, which does important work — “original content” also implies, to an extent, “special content.” The kind of content you can’t get anywhere else. The kind of content that’s way more Saks than Walmart. Given that, it’ll be interesting to see how The Daily makes use of AP content as it aims to achieve its two broad, and almost implicitly contradictory, goals: constantly updated journalism, and journalism with high production values.

It’ll also be interesting to watch, from that perspective, what role The Daily will play in the ongoing tension between the AP and those that would share (or, depending on your perspective, steal) its content. Murdoch was briefly a member of the AP’s board, and The Wall Street Journal has in many ways been leading newspapers’ fight against Google, aggregators, and the like. How that fight plays out will be another thing that, like The Daily’s audience reception/revenue potential/journalistic quality/etc., remains to be seen.

In the meantime, though, we might read a bit into this, the most stridently anti-aggregator language I’ve come across in a news organization’s terms of service. I’d figure that fair use applies to content on apps as much as on the web. But:

The following provision applies to all visitors to this application (including, without limitation, persons, representatives of legal entities, and digital engines of any kind, including, without limitation, ones that crawl, index, scrape, copy, store, or transmit digital content): By accessing this application, you specifically acknowledge and agree that (i) Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio, and/or video material (collectively, “AP Material”) shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication, or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium; (ii) No AP Material nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and non-commercial use; (iii) The Associated Press shall not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors, or omissions in the AP Material or in the transmission or delivery of any part thereof or for any damages arising therefrom or occasioned thereby; (iv) The Associated Press is an intended third-party beneficiary of these terms and conditions and may exercise all rights and remedies available to it; and (v) The Associated Press reserves the right to audit possible unauthorized commercial use of AP Material or any portion thereof at any time.

                                   
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Joseph Lichterman    July 22, 2014
The site known for social media and tech coverage has hired nearly 30 more editorial staffers since October and, like BuzzFeed before it, is expanding into more general interest news.