We want to set up a prize competition to encourage innovation in long-form journalism in the UK. Market forces and technological change are driving shorter and shorter media forms. But the journalism vital to a plural society and democracy needs more than a 20 second video or a Google Card. With few market incentives for the more nuanced, reflective, longer form journalism there is a risk that it just gets lost. Particularly as the effort required to create long form articles requires compensation and research resources – it’s very very hard to produce batter out 5,000 words on your own.
The excellent Digital Editor’s Network event Francois Nel convened at the FT yesterday reinforced for Sarah Hartley and I the massive pace towards shorter and shorter content forms. While I love the tech and insight into reading habits that powers this I’m horrified by the prospect of a world without long reflective articles on the complex issues of the day. As part of our curiosity-driven work at TAL we want to get off the ground a prize competition for innovation in UK long form journalism – The Longing Prize. Something like this:
We’d invite people to submit/nominate entries for non-fiction UK pieces in any form or mix of digital media that equates to something over 1,000 or 2,000 words in print. Published in the last year.
With scope for say five winners.
We shall ask for innovation in story telling form(at) and prompt entrants for new approaches and blends of technologies. e.g. best use of public platforms (say Blogger/YouTube), best bespoke platforms etc
And offer decent cash prizes for the winners to reward their time.
The Longing Prize would be very open – seeking to bring in a range of papers and publishers as sponsors, judges etc- if it’s too exclusive people will get put off. (We have already had a very strong positive reaction from one huge news group). This would be a nice counterpoint to the lack of digital collaboration in the industry at large.
Let us know what you think in the comments below and contact us (william or sarah (a) talkaboutlocal.org ) if you want to sponsor, judge, take part, organise it etc and we’ll blog some more in the next week or so.
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