PSA: Stop Long-Form Journalism

“It’s like reading a book, but getting tricked into doing so.”

That’s how Derek Brown, an independent writer and video producer who works in corporate communication, views long-form journalism. In his video, he trivializes the branch of journalism that is dedicated to longer articles with longer amounts of content. The length of long-form articles is between that of a traditional article and that of a novel. Watch below:

I’m not entirely sure if this video is meant to be satirical, but it does raise some interesting questions about long-form journalism and its effectiveness  with readers – especially millennials who spend a great deal of time on social media.

When I click on a link that leads to a long-form article, I’ll scroll up and down to see just how long it is. If I realize that the article is too long, I’ll typically decide that I don’t have the time to read it and choose not to do so, even if it’s about a subject or an event that I’m interested in.

In an age where we’re so subjected to short spurts of information (many of which are detailed in 140 characters or less), it can often be difficult to focus on something that can be thousands of words in length. Personally, when I’m assigned reading to do for a class, I frequently struggle with focusing and retaining the information presented over dozens of pages. I honestly think Twitter and other forms of social media have contributed to this, and I would be surprised if I were alone in feeling this way.

As an alternative, Brown encourages viewers to watch a video instead. It will be interesting to see if news and stories are presented in video format to cater to the attention spans of various audiences, which, according to Brown, are seriously diminishing:

“I’ve never done long-form,” he said in an interview with Poynter. “Mad respect to anyone who is putting in that kind of effort to something, but my attention span wanes around 400 words or three minutes for video.”

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