SHORTER IS BETTER

Time and time again we’re told the best writing for the Web is short, easy to scan and caters to SEO. To this point, this is the predominant style found across the Web.

We’re told to break text up, use subheads, list out items, use bullet points and allow white space. Hyperlinks are encouraged so users can dive deeper and seek out information. In fact, most online users are jumping around from page to page determining what information they consume.

CHANGING BEHAVIOR

In an older article, Nicholas Carr points out how the Internet has changed the way we read. With users spending mere seconds on each page, are we becoming mere decoders?

Why are six word stories so powerful? Is it because we don’t have the time or because they force us to think? Are longer articles doomed in the Internet age? A six-word story answer: Excessive words, tired eyes, less impact

LONG-FORM JOURNALISM

Although there is still a strong shorter-is-better mentality, some articles are fighting against this, pushing the limits of length and format.

Some are holding tight to old conventions, failing to take advantage of the medium and incorporate more rich media to help further a story. This can work for traditional publishers, with an established readership, such as articles by the Atlantic or New York Times.

Yet, more times than not, articles need to do more than just republish magazine or newspaper stories.

ARTICLES EVOLVED

Yet, it isn’t all doom and gloom. Some long-form journalism is thriving on the Web. By using additional media types to further a story and using subheads and lists to break up text, publishers are keeping readers interested and involved in the story.

NPR is a great example of making the most of different mediums on the Web. While their stories are traditionally in audio format, they aren’t merely posting scripts; they are rewriting stories for the Web by using subheads and hyperlinks, incorporating images and posting sidebar information.

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