I've been a subscriber to Longreads and Longform for a few months now and they (actually I knew longreads first. I forgot how though :s) introduced me to what they call as 'long form' journalism.
And what is a long-form journalism?
I would safely assume that they are journalistic pieces, usually written in narrative style and are typically longer than 2,000 words.. Or take more than 5 minutes to read.
At first I thought long reads are only good for print, since the common conception during pre-tablet era is that it's tiring to read exhaustively via an electronic screen. But then, it's either my eyes are used to it, or the way devices of today are engineered, I am less bothered reading long stuffs.
This article over at Forbes said that it's just not me, but the overall readership for long pieces IS increasing, despite researchers' cries that the society now has a shorter attention span. I mean, now in the weekends I realize that I tend to enjoy my time reading those longer pieces that are delivered to me via email (NOT twitter. I also find that avoiding twitter during my day off is sooo relaxing :D). Or yeah, burying myself in a good book.
And then I tried to look at JG's own so-called long pieces. Umm I dunno if this is super secret but I guess people should already figure it out. Newspapers won't survive for long, for maybe of course in developing countries like Indonesia where the majority of people still reads from paper. As cited by the other English paper households with tablet computers only constituted of two percent.
True.. smartphone owners are now at like 78 percent but most of the people only use it to log in to their facebook. (Interesting read: For Many Indonesians, ‘Facebook’ Is the Only Internet)
In the beginning, JG wanted to differentiate the "paper" with "web". So we want to churn news features, longer pieces that is timeless, more analytic and in-depth (for the daily news) to be published on the paper so that people still want to read it and find it relevant even though the hard news are already up (or 'broken') on online news sites and TV stations.
But who am I kidding.. The people who read our stuffs mostly do it online or mobile. So why shun away from it? It was also revealed to me the other day when I wrote this 2,100-something piece that looked damn intimidating on paper (will put up the picture here later). But online, it doesn't scare you that much. In fact I'm happy to say that until today it has more than 10,000 hits.
UPDATE: Here it is
Long-form journalism is not that popular yet in Indonesia. Newspapers usually have the reporters divide their stories to a number of 'series', and I would say only Tempo magazine has worth-reading long form pieces.
People here are still enjoying the short burst of info splashed on them via Twitter. Besides, with only 14 years of our so-called 'freedom of press', Indonesian journalism is still taking shape and I'm glad that I'm a part of it :)