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First iPad newspaper ready to roll off Web

Stop the presses -- completely. The world's first iPad newspaper, the Daily, is prepping for launch.

Journalists have been hired and are in place at several U.S. bureaus, including Los Angeles and New York.

The formal announcement of the digital publication owned by News Corp. will be made at an event at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday, according to two people familiar with the matter. The people said the event will be attended by Steve Jobs, chief executive of iPad-maker Apple Inc., and Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp.

The people were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Details are scant, including how much a subscription to the tablet-only paper will cost, if there is indeed a fee, but the name at least implies it will come out once a day. It will cover general news, culture and entertainment and will include video.

The publication is a bold attempt by Murdoch to rewrite the business of journalism, as revenue from print circulation and advertising has plunged and growing advertising sales on websites have not made up the difference.

At an investor's conference last month, News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey called the Daily a "small bet" because costs were limited mainly to a modest editorial staff. By contrast, printed newspapers also have such costs as newsprint, ink and delivery.

Carey touted the benefits of tablet computing technology.

"We didn't want it for a PC," he said. "We think the tablet, you know, is a unique experience. You can design something that takes advantage of that experience, takes advantage of the multimedia capabilities of it, the technological capabilities of it. I think it could be an interesting product."

News Corp.'s other digital initiatives are setting the pace in a struggling industry.

The Wall Street Journal's website has required a paid subscription for the last 14 years and now has nearly 450,000 electronic subscribers, according to the latest report by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The newspaper charges $3.99 per week for a subscription, which includes access to its website. News Corp. won't say how many people are paying, but more than 1 million have downloaded the app for free (it contains some preview material, but full access is restricted).

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