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Scott Lax Blog

Going Long

I had a nice talk with a newspaper editor today. Times are very tough for newspapers, as everybody knows. I think this doesn't bode well: even though so much content is free, I am suspect that many people are reading in-depth articles on their computers. I've found myself carting around The New Yorker and reading longer, in depth articles. It keeps my brain operating half-way decently.

You simply can't get that kind of information from a two hundred word Web piece. Most of them are toss-offs, full of easily digestible information.

The Internet is invaluable; I know that. But we are losing the in-depth, long form; we are losing serious investigative journalism. Will young people want to read serious journalism, having been raised on Twitter and snark? Maybe. In many ways, kids seem smarter than ever. Still, there needs to be some kind of happy medium.

I only hope that enough newspapers, magazines and book publishing companies survive to keep excellence alive. Otherwise, society will get stupider. (Can I say that more diplomatically? Maybe. But why?)

If you haven't read a long form lately, try it. A long piece in The New Yorker, or any magazine of that sort, will do. Or a book. It's amazing how much intellectual yardage you can gain by stopping the dink and dunk passes and going long.  Read More