By Jeff Israely, Nieman Journalism Lab
In the news industry, we may not talk about “attention span” much anymore, but scattered/fleeting/promiscuous readership continues to be seen as the mother of all challenges of the digital age. The hamster-wheel chase for wandering eyeballs threatens basic standards of journalism on bad days, even as it helps us invent unimaginably original ways to tell stories and keep people informed on our better days.
Short attention spans are also, of course, a major economic challenge for the news business. We all know by now that even the most delicious listicle or other “snackable” servings of content is itself an acknowledgment that customer fealty can be swiped away at any given moment. The fundamentally boundless nature of online information means that editorial decisions (from top to bottom on the food chain) will increasingly be driven by a warping of what was a perfectly legitimate old newspaper credo: How can I get, and keep, their attention? [Full story]