Information Superhighway was the name given to the Internet when it was made available to the public in the early 90s. That superhighway has had a major impact on the way news has been consumed ever since. The speeds at the superhighway have only become faster after the advent of smartphones. These handheld instruments are faster than the room-sized supercomputers of the past; literally bringing the latest information to your fingertips, 24X7.
SHORT ATTENTION SPAN
Not surprisingly, this has led to information glut. Now, the audience wants to know more but not necessarily in-depth. This satiation of the appetite for information has had a negative effect as well. People are distracted or dissatisfied very soon. In short, the attention span of each individual is going down. News channels had to react fast to this sudden change.
NEWS SERVED FAST
Initially, organisations came up with short but complete news stories. The one-minute news in BBC, for instance, takes 4 or 5 news items and tries to summarise the stories comprehensively.
The effort did not end there, soon news roundups were attempted with the top 20 stories, 60 stories and so on. Many Indian channels are now trying one hundred news stories in just 10 minutes.
QUALITY vs QUANTITY
No points for guessing that with quantity, quality gets compromised. To begin with, most stories are not complete and the context is missing. The opportunity to note down the information to be checked later with Google is not practical.
Unlike newspaper, nobody takes the effort to look up for facts while watching television. Once a piece of information does not touch the audience, it never will.
ONLINE PORTALS RACE
A website “in shorts”, is giving news stories in less than 60 words whereas major media sites are also giving the news roundup in a few words. So the fast race is on, here as well.
RETURN OF LONG FORM
Technology, like time, sometimes becomes an equaliser. The short form is once again being challenged by the long-form stories. It is believed that iPad and other tablets are helping this cause.
So, welcome back long-form!