Oh how I hate their app. Stories appear in multiple places. Stories that are days old don’t go away. There’s no “stop”; no resting place. It’s whatever is on Safari when you open the app. And that stinks. I want to read the day’s newspaper in an electronic form. The Wall Street Journal’s app is perfect. It gives you both that day’s printed paper in an electronic form and it uploads the website in a separate and distinct place, so that you can check what’s happening now (or the last time you accessed the app).
The reason that this is so important to me is best described by David Carr, the media writer for the Times (and star of the excellent documentary on the Times “Page One“) in his recent interview with Terri Gross on Fresh Air. Speaking of his media diet (which resembles mine so close a way as to be somewhat uncomfortable for me because he’s in the media criticism business and I am not), he said:
When I wake up in the morning and the gun goes off, I’m checking Twitter. I’m checking RSS feeds, and I get four newspapers at my house every day. I get the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, the Star Ledger – because I live in New Jersey – and, of course, the New York Times.
And the reason I do is because the day before this, all this stuff has gone whizzing past me, and I seem to know a lot. But I don’t really know which part of it is important. And I used to think it was so silly that newspapers would – like, I’d go to our page one meeting, and they’d be organizing the hierarchy of the six or seven most important stories in Western civilization. Meanwhile, the Web is above them, pivoting and alighting, and all these stories are morphing and changing. And I thought: Well, how silly is this?
But you know what? I came to want that resting place, where someone yelled stop and decided, look, this is stuff you need to know about going forward. So there’s both real-time news and then newspapers have become a kind of magazine experience for me, where they’re – where it’s a way to look back at what has happened.
The Times app just gives me the “whizzing by” and not the stop, before you even get to my complaints about its (lack of) organization and repetition.