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#Podcast – Digital lessons and opportunities for long-form journalism

August 10th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Podcast

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In recent years a number of interesting platforms and projects dedicated to long-form journalism have launched, in a bid to give the reporting style a solid footing in the digital space.

And research has shown that portable devices, such as the iPad, are likely to be natural playgrounds for the longer read. For example, a study carried out by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism with the Economist Group and released in October last year, found that tablet owners spend around an hour and a half each day on their device – suggesting users may have time for more immersive experiences, as well as accessing the latest news snippets.

To find out more about the digital evolution of long-form journalism this podcast hears from three people closely involved in digital publication about the challenges which have been faced by long-form non-fiction, the new and innovative projects and platforms emerging in the digital world, and the business models supporting them.

We speak to:

  • Alissa Quart, editor-at-large, The Atavist
  • Jim Giles, co-founder, Matter
  • Lucia Adams, digital development editor, The Times

Here’s more on Matter from, and here are some links for wider reading across the web on the topic of long-form journalism on digital platforms:

You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the iTunes podcast feed.

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Could technology actually be a gateway to long-form journalism?

There’s a useful post on PoynterOnline this week in which author Mallary Jean Tenore details some of the best tools and technologies available which support the future of long-form journalism on the web.

These include Nate Weiner’s Read It Later, which can “save, share and organize URLs”. He explains that this means users can return to the whole article offline at their own leisure, rather than simply bookmarking the URL.

“Read It Later is essentially the article’s second chance. It actually improves the likelihood that the article will be seen,” Weiner said via e-mail. “If any article is there, the user put it there. And in order for a user to have put it there, they would have to have visited the publisher’s site.”

Other examples include Marco Arment’s Instapaper, which not only saves web pages but also creates RSS feeds of saved stories and an ‘Editor’s Picks’ feature based on the most bookmarked content and Twitter account @LongReads, created by Mark Armstrong, for a constant stream of long-form journalism examples.

See her full post here…

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Long-form proves popular on new university hyperlocal site

Pilot hyperlocal news and features site Standfirst Online, run by media students at Bournemouth University, has reported a successful first few weeks – with long-form journalism proving to be a popular product on the platform.

Co-supervisor Chindu Sreedharan oversees the site, which is aimed at the university community. He told that the platform had allowed the students to tackle online content in different ways.

Over the three editions, they managed to go beyond the inverted pyramid, and explore other forms of reportage, other forms of writing – literary journalism, for instance. Again, when you look at it, that’s quite unique – having long-form journalism in a hyperlocal venture. For our launch, we had a strong cover story in an in-depth interview with the outgoing VC Paul Curran. In Edition 2, the students put together a very strong profile of Professor John Vinney, the new VC. And for our Edition 3, we had this wonderful piece of experiential journalism from Geo Willis.

The site, which was launched as a pilot a month ago today, has received more than 6,000 page views despite its summer holiday launch period.

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Online journalism: A return to long-form?

Nieman Journalism Lab’s Megan Garber has a good post up about Slate and its dedication to long-form journalism, a dying art in the world of blogs and aggregators and online news consumption analysis.

Slate editor David Plotz launched the Fresca Initiative last year, designed to give reporters the opportunity to produce long-form work on subjects of their choice. Under the scheme, staff can take four to six weeks off their normal jobs to produce more in-depth stuff.

The result? Not only a handful of very good (and, at as many as tens of thousands of words, very long) articles but serious traffic to the site too. For the tens of thousands of words there have been millions of page views.

For Plotz, the form is about “building the brand of Slate as a place you go for excellent journalism”. It is not about “building Slate into a magazine that has 100 million readers,” but making sure they have “two million or five million or eight million of the right readers”.

Anybody trying to monetise online content at the moment knows about the right readers, and about their value to advertisers.

So here’s to the idea that ten thousand word articles and are not anathema to online audiences, and to the idea that giving your staff six weeks off to write them isn’t anathema to making money from online content.

And, most of all, here’s to the idea that my boss thinks so too.

But I’m not holding my breath.

Full Nieman post at this link…

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