Saturday, March 3, 2007

Reporters told to write shorter stories

One of the ways journalism has changed is in the length of stories. Newspapers and magazines now a days carry shorter articles and news reports. There are more of graphics, illustrations and photos. One reason is that people have lesser time today to go through long-winded articles, two, the printable area of newspaper itself has shrunk.

The Editors' Weblog is reporting on how Washington Post has asked its reporters to write shorter articles. "Len Downie, executive edior of The Washington Post, has made it clear: writers will have to write shorter stories if they want to go on writing them. Downie’s memo is representative of a trend to trim and trim more. The memo also discusses the Post’s new policies for the structure of its content." has the full text of the executive editor's memo.

And there is a comment on the above site welcoming the move. A good observation:

"This is good news, not bad news. Kudos to Downie. Based on the memo, I believe he's trying to get articles in the Post that people actually will read and that maintain journalistic excellence. Young people - our future market - like shorter articles, and succinct writing has greater impact than bloated writing. The Post has figured out that long-winded journalism is all but dead, putting the paper far ahead of most."


  1. A bit surprising that WashPost is doing this only now. Newspapers in India changed their writing styles long long back. All newspapers have smaller items, hardly anything to read actually!

  2. Hardly anything to read? Looking at it another way, the focus should primarily be on reporting the facts - 'opinions' come later..

    Shorter stories also mean more can be covered, rather than dawdling with long opinions on a single story...

  3. i'd like to know if washington post will also cut down on their ads! every day a huge bundle drops at a the 250 page newspaper 100 pages is news...150 pages is ads!