Friday, October 7, 2016

Is there still a place for longer-form journalism in our digital world?


By: Scott Stein, Leonard & Finco Public Relations 

There’s no doubt the news landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. I grew up with a daily newspaper, ABC, CBS and NBC television stations running local news at 6 and 10 p.m. and a few local radio stations that also carried local news. That’s a far cry from today when news is with us 24/7 from a seemingly endless source of news outlets.

So I found a recent post from Pew Research – 10 facts about the changing digital news landscape – to be rather interesting. I won’t list all 10 facts; but here are a few:

  • About four-in-ten Americans now often get news online
  • Mobile is becoming a preferred device for digital news
  • Social media, particularly Facebook, is now a common news source
  • Long-form journalism has a place in today’s mobile-centric society

My first thought was that the four-in-ten figure for people getting news online seems a bit low. As for mobile being the preferred device for digital news or that Facebook and other social media platforms are common news sources, that’s no surprise.

The surprise to me is that “long-form journalism has a place in today’s mobile-centric society.” The Pew Research piece notes that “cellphone users spend more time on average with long-form news articles than with short form. In fact, the total engaged time with articles 1,000 words or longer averages about twice that of the engaged time with short-form stories: 123 seconds compared to 57. And on average, long-form content attracts about the same number of visitors as short-form content.” 

I’m taking that as good news; people are still interested in longer stories even it seems that most of us have shorter attention spans today.

What do you think? Are you checking out longer-form stories on your mobile device?
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