I know Steve Dyson is a heavyweight journalist but is he too large? Interesting post by HoldtheFrontPage editor and publisher Paul Linford after a reader complained that the Dyson at Large blog column, which is hosted by HTFP and reviews regional newspapers, was too long. Or as the poster My Face Hurts put it: "Please, please, please can we have shorter columns as my retinas can only stand so much...this is not what web journalism is all about" Paul Linford responded: "Interesting debate kicking off here as to what web journalism is all about. Logically, you would think that the unlimited space parameters of the web would enable more in-depth treatment of stories online and encourage writers to produce lengthier pieces than they would necessarily be able to do in print. Except that this seemingly isn't what you want, Face Hurts, and you are by no means alone in that. "Is this some kind of conundrum, whereby people want shorter internet stories even though unlimited space is available, and more in-depth treatment of stories in print despite its limited space? As a web publisher, I'm genuinely interested in the answer."
Steve Dyson replied: "I think the answer, Paul, is that age-old one: you can't please all of the people all of the time... A few weeks ago, on the Exeter review, I blogged about 700 words, the shortest to date, and the feedback was that the review was too skinny! But I love feedback, and perhaps today's 1,000+ words was TOO long. I'm gonna aim for 850 max from next week and see how that goes down."
I am a freelance journalist based in the UK and was deputy editor of Press Gazette, the journalists' magazine, from 1993 until 2006. I want to give an independent view on media matters.
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