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WORKSHOP: Literary Journalism in a Digital Age

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Erika Hayasaki

on 6 March 2014

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Transcript of WORKSHOP: Literary Journalism in a Digital Age

Famous LJ Books
Rise of E-Reading
Narratives in a Digital Age
“New Media Outlets:
e-readers, blogs,
smarts and more”

State of the Media
What is Literary Journalism?
A series of portraits published last year by Business Insider: "Depressing Photos of Closed Bookstores."

Tablets, Smartphones Good
for In-Depth Journalism

The increased use of mobile devices has provided a boost in readers for long-form journalism, according to the State of the News Media in 2012 report released today by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

With Americans now getting their news and information across multiple platforms, data showed that people spend “far more time with news apps on the smartphone and tablet, visit more pages at a sitting, and return more frequently than they do on conventional computers,” the report stated.
A Guide to 37 Magazines That Ceased Publication from 2008-2009 from Ad Age Mediaworks.

"Weeks and weeks of reporting. Hanging out with the subject of your piece, hoping some scene will emerge that because of where it is and what the dialogue is, will reveal that subject. Journeying to all sorts of places, hoping the trip will encounter drama, and meaning....And all this time, of course, costs money," said Gerry Marzorati, former editor of the NYT Magazine, who added that a typical cover story costs at least 40k for author pay & travel expenses (editing, photos, and fact-checking not included).
Thomas French: “Every single story we write, every single story there is, has an engine inside of it. And it’s a question, an unanswered question that the reader wants to know the answer to. And all these questions are very simple questions, and they’re all a version of ‘What happens next?’ Those three words are what make all narrative go.”
The Espresso Book Machine

"...thousands of books displayed where you can choose one, but they’re not on a bookshelf, they’re on a screen. You can browse electronically, pick one out, and have a cup of coffee while it prints. It may not be in the immediate future, but I would say within the next ten years you will be able to go into a space and print the book you want.”
Literary Agent Richard Curtis to Good E-Reader
Pocket (formerly Read it Later), another new online venture, reported that based on a survey of 100 million articles saved by its 4 million users across all major web and mobile platforms, people are reading the most in the early morning, during their commutes, and near bed time. Read it Later reported: “It’s the time on the subway or bus. It’s the time standing in line. It’s a spare moment.”
E-Reader Owners Read More
A Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project study released today found that e-readers are on the rise, and that shift has boosted literacy.

Key findings, according to the report:
30% of those who read e-content say they now spend more time reading, and owners of tablets and e-book readers particularly stand out as reading more now.
Some 41% of tablet owners and 35% of e-reading device owners said they are reading more since the advent of e-content.
42% of readers of e-books said they are reading more now that long-form reading material is available in digital format.
Those who read e-books reported they read more books in all formats — an average of 24 books in the previous 12 months and had a median of 13 books. Those who do not read e-books say they averaged 15 books in the previous year and the median was 6 books.
The Huffington Post's longform journalism won the Pulitzer Prize this year for its series on wounded soldiers home from war, and now The Huffington Post has launched a new I-Pad Magazine for news and in-depth journalism.
February 14, 1972 issue of New York Magazine.

The genre has been referred to by various names over the years, including “narrative nonfiction,” “narrative journalism,” and as Tom Wolfe famously called it “the new journalism.”
“As journalists, our job is to help reshape the way one group of people thinks about another. We must dig deeper than stereotypes. We must get down on our knees or climb up on a chair or walk in the shoes of the people we write about.”
— DeNeen L. Brown
"One thing you have to do, if you’re going to write this sort of thing, is realize that people have buried their pain and have transformed experience enough to allow them to endure it and bear it. If you stay with them long enough, you let them reveal the past to themselves, thereby revealing it to you. Then they will dare to bring out the truth of something even if it makes them look bad."

— Joseph Mitchell
“Curiosity is not something that we are going to get from the Columbia School of Journalism or the University of Missouri or anywhere else. Curiosity comes from within us.”
— Gay Talese
Narrative nonfiction has a bit of a self-esteem problem. How can we justify writing long, time-consuming pieces about small stories? I think it’s easy to justify: We are a species that communicates, that wants to know about the rest of our species. As writers go out and learn about the world, and then come back and tell others. Any story can be worth telling if the author is passionate about it.

—Susan Orlean
Areas of nonfiction writing that incorporate elements of literary journalism might include features, profiles, essays, travel writing, opinion pieces, documentary and radio storytelling, biography, historical nonfiction, news features, first-person stories, and reported memoir — basically any nonfiction story (and by nonfiction, we mean no making it up, not even the color of a shirt or a quote you wish someone said), told through scenes, with the voice of the narrator or characters, with a beginning, middle and end, with tension, a story arc, themes, high emotional stakes and deeply reported details (Wolfe called them “status details” — see this video clip, thanks to The Writing Code.)

Nowadays, nonfiction narrative, literary journalism — or whatever you choose to call it — is also sometimes being featured under labels like longform, or #longreads, or Kindle Singles, Apple Quick Reads, and Nook Snaps.
The number of newspapers dropped by 14% — from 1,611 in 1990 to 1,387 in 2009, according to a Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media report. And that same year, Business Insider published a piece entitled, “The Year The Newspaper Died,” noting that as of that July, 105 newspapers had stopped publishing and 10,000 newspaper jobs had been lost.
In fact, in the same time period that newspapers and magazines have been scaling back, a resurgence in longform journalism in the digital age has been beginning to bubble.
Narratively — a digital publication devoted to original, true & in-depth stories about New York, with plans to expand to other cities. Like MATTER, which raised $140,000 on Kickstarter, Narratively is now in a Kickstarter campaign.
A recent report by PaidContent found that in the 14 months since the program started, Amazon has sold more than 2 million Kindle Singles, with 70% going to authors, 30% to Amazon. — Oliver Broudy, former managing editor of the Paris Review, wrote “The Saint,” which sold 41,826 copies at 1.99, and “The Codex,” which sold 5,000 copies at 1.99. *Estimated royalties: over 65K.

Journalist Paul Alexander, published a 9,500-word true crime story, “Murdered,” which according to the Seattle Times the story: “…continues to generate royalties for Alexander, who figures he has taken in about 50K from the mini e-book — more than if he had written it for a major magazine.”
UC Irvine

Compiled By Assistant Professor Erika Hayasaki
According to LinkedIn's analysis of the “Economic Report of the President” it found: The three fastest-shrinking industries were: * automotive (-12.8%) *retail (-15.5%) *newspapers at the very bottom at (-28.4%) But the three fastest-growing industries included: * e-learning (+15.9%). * online publishing (+24.3%) *internet (+24.6%)
LJ Digital
Flipboard "the stuff you care about all in one place."
The Atavist. Multimedia Nonfiction Narratives.
Macbook, I-Phone, Kindle, I-Pod, and a Book!
Full transcript