About one in ten Americans tune in to public radio each week; if you landed in a spaceship someplace in America searching for thoughtful and nonpartisan culture, your first stop would be the public radio stations that usually show up below 92 on the FM dial. […]
And yet very little gets written about public radio.
A semi-sort of comic by Frank Chimero.
Today, Amazon is announcing that it will launch “Kindle Singles”—Kindle books that are twice the length of a New Yorker feature or as much as a few chapters of a typical book.
Love it. Great opportunities here, especially for long-form journalism. With digital text, there’s no need to shoehorn stories into legacy categories. That’s no excuse to eschew editing—a tighter story is always a better one, in ink or pixels—but it does allow for richer pieces: what would have been a stretched-thin book condenses into a powerful long read; a magazine narrative, begging for twice the words, develops fully.
I haven’t read The Accidental Billionaires, but Orson Scott Card did:
Mezrich faced a nearly insurmountable difficulty in writing the story of the founding of Facebook. After all his research, he had about fifty pages worth of story, and that’s not long enough for a book.
But it is long enough for a Single.
Sundry tales of awesome adventure by Joshua Allen.
And don’t think that my arrogance is unintentional: it’s just that I’d rather offend you now than after I started working for you.
One of my favorite writers.
Narratives resonate because of their humanity. They are people laid bare. That’s the magic of baseball: the pitches and plays, themselves little tales of triumph and failure, connect to form spectacularly human stories spanning games, seasons and eras.
When I’m feeling cynical, I wonder if today’s youth are too busy writing their own narratives in real-time to hear those of others, even the ones that really matter. Can Facebook evoke empathy when its focus is so firmly on yourself?
But status updates and tweets aren’t so different from pitches. Each is a tiny story, from which we can glean only a little. It’s the aggregate that matters.
Social media sites don’t handle long-term narrative well. The stories get lost in streams and archived on pages in the deep and the dark. And how long will any of it last?
The narratives are there, though, if you take the time to find them. But it shouldn’t be so hard.
How can we use the social web to weave new stories, in ways never told before?