This week, several people have floated the idea that Apple’s iPad and similar devices could revive the atrophied art of long-form, investigative journalism. After all, one can still hope that the human mind hasn’t lost its appetite for pages-long reads that delve deep into crucial issues of our time. What’s more, mobile tablets loosely approximate the feel of magazines, but don’t carry the burdensome distribution costs of their print brethren.
In a Monday interview with Katie Couric, Time executive editor Nancy Gibbs said that e-readers offer a superior platform for long-form writing:
You know, the — the one problem with — with the Internet for journalists who like doing long form is that any story that’s going to involve 16 screens [on]] the Web page, that’s asking a lot of people. But these devices that are designed to read books on, you certainly can imagine people being happy to read three- and four- and 5,000-word long form journalism stories on. So I think, actually, there promises to be a renaissance of the kind of serious investment journalism and storytelling that, you know, we all love to do.
And now today, Newsonomics blogger Ken Doctor takes a similar view.
The web’s always been about quick news reads. Perhaps, the tablet can recreate the pleasure of long-form journalism reading. My guess: it depends on the journalism. Graydon Carter makes the good point that storytelling endures, online and off. Maybe the tablet newly nourishes it.
In a moment of heated debate over the viability and value inherent in different types of digital content, it’s at least comforting to think that technological innovation may resuscitate a type of journalism that’s taken a few hits over the past couple of years.