The Politicker momentarily becomes The Mediator with some good media scoop: Tom Scocca reports that NY Times executive editor Bill Keller sent a memo saying stories had to get leaner and meaner - and any stories over 1800 words need to be approved by certain editors first. From the Politicker:
Mr. Keller described the move in an internal memo as part of a campaign against endemic "bloat" or "flab"--stories that "sometimes feel slack or padded." Though he conceded in the note that budget concerns played some role, he wrote that "this is not primarily about saving space."
Mr. Keller wrote: "I'm talking, for the most part, about 1,200-word stories that could be told--better told--in 900 words....I'm talking about features that meander through an unnecessary and uncompelling anecdotal lede and get to the point in the fourth or fifth graph."
The 1,100-word memo is a little saggy around the middle itself -- "Complexity, nuance, competing viewpoints, important context, analytical connections, killer quotes, telling anecdotes...these are things that set us apart from TV, and from most other print publications."
Gothamist knows what this means: (1) Some research was done and the NY Times print readership is getting older and the cataracts are getting bad; (2) Online readers don't like it when the stories jump to a second page - they are impatient; and (3) Without the extra graf, telling anecdotes will be subliminally placed in advertisements. We did find this memo interesting, because it's the Times, not the Post or Daily News, and we look to the Times for its insane level of detail. Gothamist can only guess that the current soundbite-driven, highly edited, just-the-facts-ma'am era, both on TV and online, is causing this move. Next thing you know, we'll be hearing about the most portable (you know, without the extra three sections sliding out) print edition. Oh, and be sure to read the post at The Politicker: There's an auto-summary of a recent 3000+ word Times article.
Do you like the long NY Times stories? Or do you like your stories in Headline News ticker style?