Monday, January 28, 2013

The Demise of Middle-Length News?

A few years ago an article (which I can't find now) bemoaned the coming demise of middlebrow news.  The thesis was simple -- the highbrow stuff like The Atlantic will do just fine, thank you very much, as will the lowbrow stuff from People or even your local weekly paper.  It was the middlebrow stuff, largely from those great but declining news magazines and major metro papers, that was suffering.

I have a new thesis.  We're seeing the decline of middle-length news.

Of course we can point at Twitter and it's recent addition of Vine -- the 6-second video thingie -- suggests a growing preference for brief to the point of near non-existence.    Mobile plays a major role here too because the last thing you want to do is read a long news story on a friggin smartphone. But longform news remains popular.  A lot of it is found on highbrow places mentioned above, but there is a segment of society that (thankfully) enjoys a long take on a complex topic.

Perhaps length and, er, brow-ness, are intertwined.  Smarter people than me can tease that out.  What's scary is now TV news, bad as it is, seems almost comprehensive by comparison to a 140-character tweet and a 6-second Vine video.

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