Tortoise and the hair shirt: Yesterday’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapper

By Jasmine Wing | @jasminenatashaw

Our society seems to be binging on the junk food journalism known as “churnalism”. But at the other end of the scale is the slow journalism. Slow journalism offers more extensive, creative coverage to be enjoyed in context, not just for a quick fix on the tube or in-between meetings.
The web successfully serves our hunger to hear the news first and quickly, but neglects the consumers need for beautifully, crafted publication. Is this remedy the answer to the future of print?
Is good journalism getting lost in the masses? Just because we live in an age of information it doesn’t mean that we are using it correctly. The mass of options for the public now seems endless but it is quality not quantity. A principle I stand by. Should we have to weigh up the credibility of a news source to decide whether to believe what is written or not? I don’t think so?
The smell of the freshly printed paper, the feel of the crisp edges, reclining in your seat with your eyes glued to the page, indulging in this week’s article… have these days sadly come to an end?
Journalism has been described as ‘sloppy’ and ‘morally bankrupt’. Could we argue that journalists just don’t have the time to do their job properly, that is why they are cutting corners? Have journalists maxed the moral overdraft?
Pressure cannot be the only reason that journalists are not checking the facts for themselves. What needs to be done to turn this distrusted ship around and towards something that serves as a useful public platform?
The Guardian headline reads… ‘Say it quick, say it well – the attention span of a modern internet consumer’. Many argue there is no place for slow journalism in our fidgeting culture. However I disagree. I feel that too often we tell this generation what they are and what they aren’t. Social media and the internet are becoming the journalist’s scape goat to their deteriorating profession, pushing all the blame of their downfalls onto the internet. But I feel there is an underlying current. We need to improve our journalism once again and I feel that nonfiction, essay type writing is the way forward.
Journalist, Camilla Cavendish raised a very thought-provoking view at her appearance on Question Time, “…. The media quite often I’m afraid are not interested in detail”. She went on to say, “It is very worrying”. I think she is completely correct. Journalists are no longer concerned for the detail of the story, only the product; take away food for the consumer to swallow but nothing to really chew.
The new radio programme called ‘Serial’ is acting out this notion of slow journalism. Over the course of each season, the radio podcasts unravel a true crime story. ‘Serial’ is a podcast from the creators of This American Life.
There is also a new magazine being launched by Delayed Gratification, which offers luxurious journalism. The magazine is uninterested in competing with ‘’the raft of terrific news” already out there. It seeks to provide new angles on big news stories and expert insight. “It measures news in months not minutes, returning to stories after the dust has settled” said Marcus Webb, the international editor of Time Out.
“We binge on instant knowledge” said the New Yorker in an article on slow journalism.
Why can’t we successfully re-package our profession to accomplish what Spotify has achieved within the music industry and Netflix (along with many others) for the film trade?
Tortoise type journalism should not be advertised as boring to the young consumers.

References

Slow journalism


http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/on-slow-journalism
http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2012/mar/19/attention-span-internet-consumer

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