On Friday, Dan Conover wrote a terrific long-form narrative essay about long-form narrative, in which he made a case for “a non-narrative future for journalism.”
To further illustrate his point in practice, he also created a three-page, home-printer-optimized PDF for readers “who prefer to read long-form essays on paper” and “a shorter, semi-structured online summary” that is remarkably like a Gawker post, sans snark.
I think he’s on to something, both in approach, example and analysis of news consumption in the present. I’m not alone in comparing consuming media on the real-time Web to dining: Steve Rubel described Twitter as “a sushi boat moving at 100 mph.” Fine dining, fast.
And since I enjoy cooking, dining and reading, the following metaphor for news flow and how we consume our daily “media meals” came readily to mind.
If reading were like dining:
An amuse-bouche is like a tweet. It’s the essence of the cook’s art, delights the palate and leaves you wanting more.
An appetizer is like a blog post. That could be a microblog post, too. Appetizers can be either light or heavy.
An entree is like a long-form narrative article. Sides include video, graphics and comments.
Dessert is like a money quote, figure or key analysis. It’s something the reader can savor, including a link to save or share.
Of course, there’s plenty of flexibility in the concept.
As @stevebuttry suggested today, for instance, an interactive database might be a recipe.
News organizations are now considering how to deliver news in a way that provides value, draws readers and perhaps solvency.
I suspect making it easy for readers to” consume media” as the readers wish may be as important for the success of online media outlets as making dining enjoyable has been for restaurants during the recession.
Time to go enjoy Sunday dinner: reading feeds & enjoying a smorgasbord of vegetables, cheese, brown beer and sausage.