Is it safe to abandon the long-held belief that on the Web brevity trumps all? Are online audiences ready for longer stories infused with quality storytelling? A couple of this week's stories suggest that they are, and that it's safe to write longer again.
Also, what writers consider the best rereads, why slang in ads might be a bad idea, and when it’s OK to un-publish.
More people are reading books. Atlantic
writer Alexis Madrigal uncovered some Gallup poll data that suggests the Internet actually encourages
the reading of books. When asked the question, “Do you have to be reading any books or novels at present?” roughly 45 percent responded “yes” in 2005, marking a consistent rise since 1952, when less than 20 percent answered “yes.” Does this challenge the idea that most online readers are only interested in short articles? Read the post here
What's behind the long stories trend?
Speaking of long forms of writing, the continued success of sites such as Longform
.com, and Byliner
.com are evidence of a renewed (or continued) taste for long-form journalism and storytelling. This piece from BuzzFeed looks at the origins of two of those sites, and the realization that these kind of stories are never going away. Read the article here
The books that writers re-read.
Some books are worth a second or third read. The Guardian
asked 15 established novelists which fiction and non-fiction books they've reread the most. There's a few classics, such as “The Great Gatsby,” “Catcher in the Rye,” and “Madame Bovary,” a few you've likely never heard of, and even a couple of books on the value of rereading. Read the story here
Is it wise to use slang in ad copy?
Writing in local dialects can be tricky, but Expedia is giving it a shot anyway with a new ad campaign for trips to the British Isles. The Economist
's language blog highlighted a critique from phonetician John Wells, who noted some of the potential problems with taking this approach to copywriting. In addition to entering a spelling minefield and, you know, actually knowing the proper slang, The Economist
blog said, "The entire point of insider language, rhyming slang included, is to be clear to insiders, while obscure to outsiders." Read the post here
You may need an un-publishing policy.
The focus in this story is on news sites, but these days, we're all pretty much working on news sites, right? When a source or subject of a story requests that you remove information from a story online, when is it OK to grant the request? Does your site have an un-publishing policy? Read more at Columbia Journalism Review
Evan Peterson is a writer based in Chicago, and the editor of OpenMarkets magazine at CME Group. He's on Twitter at @evanmpeterson.