Articles or not, we need new story formats

Wordle visualisation of posts by Jeff Jarvis and Frédéric Filloux

There has been a spat about whether journalism still needs articles. Who said what is worth reading, but too much attention to detail takes effort away from the bigger need of inventing new forms of journalism.

To get up to date on the the story, join the “link-to-the-rest ecosystem” and read these posts:

1. Jeff Jarvis: The article as luxury or byproduct

2. Matthew Ingram: No, Twitter is not a replacement for journalism

3. Jonathan Glick: The news article is breaking up

4. Jeff Jarvis: Intelligence isn’t measured by the inch

5. Frédéric Filloux: Jazz is not a byproduct of rap music

6. Jeff Jarvis: The orthodoxy of the article

It is important that journalism has these debates. In an increasingly networked, mobile and social media landscape, there is potential for new forms of narrative. As new devices are invented news will have to bend itself into new shapes, and it may be that the inverted pyramid, or the familiar forms of long-form narrative are not as effective.

Jarvis makes the point that “there are many new ways to accomplish journalistic goals to cover news and gather and share information” and goes on to say that we need to break away from “expensive, inefficient and archaic strictures” [such as articles].

This is where the debate should focus. Yes, we still need articles; yes there are good things about them; no, they are not best for everything; but where is the replacement?

In the Wordle word cloud of two posts by Jarvis and Filloux, there is no mention of platforms, users or functionality. These are issues we need to include in the debate. And sometimes it is useful to take an extreme position just to see how things look from that perspective.

Consider these pearls of wisdom from the Fake Steve Jobs in the 18.04 issue of Wired:

“Anyway, do you really think saving newspapers is just a matter of putting your old crap on a new device? … The iPad isn’t about saving newspapers. It’s about inventing new ways of telling stories, using a whole new language — one that we can’t even imagine right now … Hacks, I’m sorry, but I’m not going to save you.”

 

Paper hat photo: katerha on Flickr

One Response to “Articles or not, we need new story formats”

  1. [...] But clearly, I plucked a nerve. I’ve been asking myself why I evoked such a strong emotional response, online and off. At Jeff Pulver’s 140 Conference in New York this week, I endeavored to [...]

Leave a Reply