100 articles – ‘Long-form journalism starts a new chapter’

20 April 2011

Written by: Lawrie Zion

Long-Form Journalism Starts A New Chapter‘ by Bobbie Johnson

In a world obsessed with the 24-hour news cycle and Facebook and Twitter-surface level ‘news’ consumption, is there any future at all for long-form journalism? Is anybody at all still interested or excited by the prospect of sitting down with 10,000 words which may well take more than hour to read? At the same time do magazines and newspapers still want to invest in such writing?

For those who are saying, ‘yes, I do’ the The Guardian’s Bobbie Johnson has some good news.

Johnson is convinced that despite the gloom, despite the laziness and impatience that social media is sometimes charged with fostering, it is the internet itself which might be the form’s saviour.

In August 2010 Johnson established a unique and intriguing online project (through Twitter) called @IfYouOnly – a site whose sole purpose is to provide one daily link to a long-form story that’s powerful, gripping and ultimately memorable.

With topics ranging from a mega-endurance ride-all-day-until-your-heart-explodes cyclist, to Japanese recluse “shut ins”, to the private world of David foster Wallace’s bizarre, but illuminating self help library, @IfYouOnly shines a torch on long-form writing, providing genuine nourishment in an internet world too often cluttered by the contrary.

James Rosewarne is a  Master of Global Communications student at La Trobe University.

Want to contribute to our list of the 100 articles every journalist should read about journalism? Full details here.