Long-form stories in newspapers appear to disappearing — with the length of articles shrinking dramatically in the past 10 years, a Columbia Journalism Review study has found
“It’s pretty shocking to see what’s become of the time-honored form since the newspaper industry’s great unraveling started a decade ago,’’ CJR’s Dean Starkman writes.
The study found the Los Angeles Times published 256 stories longer than 2,000 words last year, compared to 1,776 in 2003. That’s an eye-popping drop of 86 percent.
The Washington Post published 1,378 stories longer than 2,000 words last year, about half of 2003, when it published 2,755, CJR says.
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Meanwhile, at The Wall Street Journal — which helped pioneer long, narrative stories with its Page One dispatches from all over the world published 35 percent fewer stories longer than 2,000 words last year. The number plummeted from 721 stories to 468.
And CJR says there are even larger declines in stories longer than 3,000 words since 2003, with the Journal’s total down 70 percent from 87 to 25; and the Los Angeles Times down 90 percent from 368 stories to 34.
The New York Times’ record was mixed, according to CJR, with the Times printing 25 percent fewer stories over 2,000 words from 2003, but having 32 percent more stories over 3,000 words.
CJR said it used the Factiva database to check the figures.
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