Launches ‘Speed Reads’ Vertical

Is shortform the new longform?

In the past couple of years, the “longread” has been one of the most popular buzzwords among online publications, with outlets from BuzzFeed to The Atlantic touting investments in more deep-dive, longform journalism. Over at The Week, however, things are moving in an entirely different direction.

Today, officially launched “Speed Reads,” a vertical dedicated to quick takes on news and current events. The stories, most of which max out at around 200 words, cover everything from events in Ukraine to the Tea Party’s waning popularity to “a hot jazz cover of Wham’s ‘Careless Whisper.’”

"Whether a story is 100 words or 1,000 words or 10,000 words, most readers are going to give it about a minute. It's sad but true,” said Ben Frumin, editor in chief of “We’re not going to stop doing our longer thought pieces—we’ve made a bunch of hires in the past few months that are writing things like that every day—but we do think that there is an important place, especially for a brand like The Week, to be a filter for smart, busy people, stripping out all the stuff that they don’t need to know that clogs up other stories and just delivering what that you need.”

The stories will all be displayed in full within a continuous feed.

“Obviously, we could inflate our page views if we made you click to read every single one, but we think it would be a disservice to readers in a two and a half paragraph piece to click a ‘read more’ tag halfway through it,” explained Frumin, who described the overall content mix as one-third news and two-thirds “fun, sharable” stories.

The Week tapped Jordan Valinsky, formerly of The New York Observer’s BetaBeat blog, to be the vertical’s main writer, while the site’s news editor Samantha Rollins will edit. Everyone on staff is expected to contribute, though—including the site’s longform writers like Michael Brendan Dougherty and John Aziz, as well as Frumin himself.

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