The duality of a society with less and less attention finding the time to consume large bits of detailed information is not so surprising, as modern times find niche markets victorious. Looking to be everything to every person has never worked, inter-personally, professionally, or when it comes to content. Finding the right individual to consume relevant, meaningful information has been complex, and those niche audiences have enjoyed some of the greatest success with the rise of the internet age. It’s no wonder the only magazines that really did well during the recession were The Economist, High Times, and the amazing reorganization of trade magazines into a successful boutique publishing biz. Attention is equity, and to get such specialized attention in online and paper trade magazines is fairly amazing…. there is nowhere that the impression ad model is more powerful than the relevant eyes scanning those back pages.
BUT, we now have a curious delight in long form journalism, and watching it evolve has been energizing, exciting, and frankly, breathtaking. Some of these wider pieces of long form journalism have been as engaging as any piece of journalism, in history .
These profoundly media rich articles that engage and inform a reader can *NOT* be simple to produce, but the payoff for the organization seems obvious, as it is full steam ahead with these concepts. I only dangle these out here on the fishhook, because I would like to see more of these, and anyone that knows of other example, please link and share. Cheers.
The first I saw was John Branch’s “Snowfall: The Avalanche at Fall Creek” in the New York Times. It was absolutely captivating, and breathtaking. From the first moment my eyes hit that chilly, grainy, frozen tundra, until the last word and info… I couldn’t take my eyes away:
Then, the Wall Street Journal ran a wonderfully engaging, and ultimately shorter long form, piece on America’s Cup, and the greatest comeback in sports history. This is near and dear to me, but the article did an excellent job at enlightening the lay public to the beauty, engineering, majesty, and excitement of what is and was the America’s Cup:
Finally, what might be the most important piece…. The Economist’s “5 Financial Crises that Shaped the Modern World of Finance” does a superb job explaining, relatively succinctly, just how we got ourselves in these messes, and this mess, and likely future messes. This is akin to untangling the abandoned cord drawer or bag of wires in your closet. It’s interesting, enjoyable, and important:
I am very, very excited to see more of this. It’s not only engaging and meaningful from the perspective of reaching more people with excellent journalism (the Cup piece wasn’t the best written article of all time, of course), but it points to a healthier, more consistent economy for news and journalism. Clawing, scraping, and scrambling up to higher ground, if I may mix metaphors… it must be enjoyable to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Long form, multi-media rich journalism is just part of the car that is getting them through this long, dark night… but it might be a big piece of the engine that gets them there.