JOUR 374 Final
Our textbook “Feature Writing The Pursuit of Excellence” states that feature writing is both original and descriptive. It says that it is original in the way it is written and the subjects that are written about. Feature writing has a more fluid style of writing as opposed to the inverted pyramid style in news writing.
The book states “Feature stories, unlike news stories, aren’t intended for the scanning reader.” This statement seems to go against everything that the digital age of technology has created for readers. The fact that technology has enabled information to be at our fingertips at all times makes journalists wonder if anyone reads past the headlines.
Because the Internet can be accessed at all times on many different devices, journalists are trying to make their articles the most worthy of getting a click. According to a study conducted by Microsoft along with Canadian media consumption, the average attention span has fallen to eight seconds.
This means that journalist only have eight seconds to grab the reader’s attention and keep giving them content that makes them interested in finishing the piece. With this new realization it seems that any article longer than a few scrolls would never be read or finished on a smart phone.
This causes a problem for those writing long-form feature stories that are trying to keep up with the changing times. They face the challenge of continuing to get people interested in their work on mobile devices.
A study conducted by the PEW Research Center show that long-form reading is actually continuing to be engaged by readers. The study titled “Long-Form Reading Shows Signs of Life in Our Mobile News World” states that the United States public is interacting with these long articles on their cellphones.
According to the study, “Long-form articles are getting twice the engaged time as short-form articles.” People are still interested in reader longer articles and are staying focused on them for longer than they are for short articles.
The study found that the average time spent on a long-form article was just over two minutes which may seem like a short time at first. When comparing this two minutes to the coverage of most television news stories, people are actually spending more time reading an article than most televised stories.
This study can give hope to those who are continuing to writing long-form and let them know that people are still interested in reading beyond the headlines. Feature stories are different than news stories because of their versatility.
As stated in our textbook, “Features are also original because they can be about virtually any subject that falls within the realm of ‘human interest’.” This variety in subject matter means that readers can probably find an article about any subject they want. This allows readers to read something that interests them personally, leading to the desire to finish the article entirely.
An article published on Editor and Publisher titled “How Newspapers are Creating Long-Form Journalism in the Digital Age” explores several ways different media outlets are adapting to this trend. The article begins with the statement, “Despite the trend towards clickbait and appealing to readers’ shorter attention spans, there’s proof that quality investigative journalism isn’t dead.”
The article then continues to get the ideas and opinions of several different editors that have been and are continuing to work to ensure their long articles are read. Mitch Pugh, executive editor of the Post and Courier, shares that for any long-form article it takes a team effort to make it happen.
He says that the most important part of a long-form project is to give the readers multiple ways to engage and interact with the information. He says that by preparing the way you will place and promote your work on social media is key in today’s digital age.
Long-form journalism does play a role in our society by giving readers more information than they could receive in short-form. It also is able to tell a story in a much bigger way than could be using short-form. It allows readers to experience a story by giving great details and facts that can place the reader right beside the subject.
Long-form writing will create and build relationships with readers and make them interested and want to come back. According to a comparison conducted by Scripted, long-form material is going to last longer in reader’s memories. The article states that long-form content receives more social shares than short-form.
It states, “While short-form will grab the attention of a reader for a moment, long-form will create that relationship and trust that makes a reader return for more.”
A society without long-forms would be something very different and I would go to say less educated. Getting rid of all long-form journalism would rid us of many newspapers and magazines and really only leave us with short pieces of articles.
Without long-form we would not be able to understand the whole story for many articles. Granted, some we could still learn and follow in the news but others would be left totally uncovered. People still enjoy reading for a good story and not just to get the facts.
With no long-form writing all we would have time for would be the facts and we would not be able to have any investigative journalism. People would be working hard to produce one short article after another, always trying to stay ahead.
Reading and writing would become very dull without a variety and a mix of both forms of writing. Some people do not realize when they are drawn to longer pieces of work it is because they have only been reading short ones. It is good to have a mixture of both types to read and to write.
While some people feel that in today’s busy world there is no need or no time to read long-form writing, I believe there will always be a time for people to slow down. When they come to a pause in their lives they will find it nice to have something engaging to read.
Camille Johnson, writer for Beyond Literacy, has an article titled “Reading/Writing in a Digital Age.” She states in this article that both reading and writing have been transformed through this digital age. She believes that there are both positives and negatives to the way this time has shaped our literacy.
She makes the point that social media such as Facebook and Twitter encourage people to share short information. She says, “The use of emoticons help make our message shorter, while texting also encourages short messages and quick responses.”
She goes on to touch on the matter of our vocabulary that has changed by the use of social media and having to fit more into less. Words have been created such as “lol” to represent an emotion and feeling of laughter. There is a casualness in writing that the use of social media has brought about.
Journalist need to stand firm and make sure they do not fall into this area of using lingo that make their work unprofessional. They should be focused on staying true and authentic while maintaining credibility.
With the future of journalism hanging in the balance of the digital age I believe it is safe to say that short and long-form writing will still be around no matter how many more technology devices are created. People are always going to be looking for something to read in both long and short-from.
Long-form writers need to keep the rules of social media in mind as they begin a story. They should take careful consideration as to how they write their piece for different platforms. They need to be sure and make the reader interested and keep them engaged throughout the piece to ensure they will finish it.
An article titled, “The future of journalism: incorporating long-form content into digital” written by Em Kuntz for Content Insights, states that the future of journalism most definitely holds a place for long-form even in the digital market.
In this article Em states, “Our obsession with form has often overshadowed the real issue, that of content.” This idea that what is covered is more important than how it is covered can be seen by several supporting articles.
If the content of a story or an article is something that interest the reader, that opens their eyes to something new, then it will not matter how long that piece may be. If journalists can find content to write about that matters to the readers there will be no more doubt or worry if long-form will make it.
I am optimistic about the future of long-form journalism being able to integrate with the digital age as it has shown that it continues to be shared and viewed even on mobile devices. I believe that there will continue to be a market for this type of journalism and that people would miss it if it ever disappeared.
Long-form journalism is an important part of the field that will continue to give readers a chance to dive into a story and experience it for themselves.