SXSW Interactive 2013

Too Long Didn't Read: The Future of Indie Longform


With the rise of listicles, photo slideshows, and content farms, the survival of long-form writing on the web seemed bleak. But in fact, there has instead been a renaissance of long-form writing. While traditional outlets have taken an arduous decade-long path to finding an online model, a handful of new, independent sites have emerged that publish polished prose and are unafraid of lengthy word counts. These "indie" publications went outside the traditional media-industry channels and tapped into their own networks and have thrived, fostering a new generation of writing talent, building new communities of readers, and displaying a new energy that sometimes outshines their old media counterparts. Editors at venerable publications The Morning News, The Millions, and The Bygone Bureau discuss the advantages of publishing long-form work on the web, the challenges of attribution, and how tools that encourage lengthy reads, like Instapaper and Readability, can hurt as much as they help.

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  1. How does long-form content published by traditional outlets differ from that published by independent sites?
  2. How is the audience for long-form changing? Is that audience growing or shrinking?
  3. How does a leaner, less conventional editorial structure affect the writing and editing process?
  4. What kind of business model can support independent sites that don't cater solely to racking up pageviews?
  5. What kind of impact have reading tools like Instapaper and Readability had on publishing long-form content?



Kevin Nguyen, Editor, The Bygone Bureau

Meta Information:

  • Tags: writing, publishing
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Content and Distribution
  • Track 2
  • Level: Beginning

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