With the growing popularity of mobile technology, media organizations are changing the way news is shared. Major media corporations are forced to adapt to the ‘always on’ culture by developing new channels, including apps, to give readers quick access to concise pieces of journalism. A great example of this shift is The New York Times’ launch of their NYTNow app earlier this year.
As these organizations rework their overall platforms, they seem to have pushed aside long form journalism. Some organizations are embracing long form articles, a hybrid between a traditional article and a nonfiction novel, by going digital. Surprisingly, this includes Web 2.0 media brands like Buzzfeed and The Daily Beast. While perhaps best known for “click bait” quizzes and lists, these outlets are also publishing longer and more interactive reads that include visual elements like images and graphs. So, what is the next iteration of this form of journalism?
In recent weeks, the media is pointing the finger at the instant popularity of the podcast Serial, the nonfiction story behind the 1999 murder of a high school student in Baltimore. Host Sarah Koenig, who was a producer on the popular radio program This American Life, chronicles her findings by releasing a new episode each week.
The show, which began in October, is growing in popularity daily. With fans like David Carr of The New York Times, listeners patiently wait for the minute they can download a new episode. The publicity garnered by Serial is shedding a new spotlight on podcasts, which are downloadable digital audio programs of radio-like shows, lectures or interviews. Podcasting is increasing in popularity, “as weekly audio podcast consumption grew 25% year-over-year.”
Although podcasting isn’t a new form of media, Serial took it to a new level as Koenig wins the hearts of listeners by taking them deep into her investigation. She shares every piece of evidence she finds through interviews, emails, and any other communication she has had with individuals involved in the case. The creative approach of combining podcasting and long form journalism has forced listeners to revert to committing an hour of their time to the news, which is far from an easy feat in our culture focused on instant gratification from the media we consume.
– Muriel Lussier