New Breed of Online Pubs Desperately Seeking Heady Prose Stylists

Sarah Lacy, founder and editor-in-chief of PandoDaily, suggests that long-form journalism is back in vogue.

She also suggest there’s a supply problem, and that companies like BuzzFeed and Tumblr — both of which recently announced new long-form content initiatives — may have trouble finding writers with the skills and background necessary to produce New Yorker-quality prose.

“Readers will only read long form content, if it’s excellent,” she contends.

Lacy also makes some interesting points about blogging, and how most bloggers are ill-equipped to produce the kind of well researched, fact-checked, objective journalism that pubs pay top dollar for, and readers spend their Sunday’s curled up on the couch reading.

She argues:

By and large the first era of blogging was about speed and volume. And speed and volume do not allow for mentorship, building sources, or investing in writing and editing. The sad reality is that blogging has given a generation of talented voices a big stage and a loose leash to build a name for themselves far quicker than they could have before. But almost none of them know how to be great reporters or great writers. Even the best bloggers of our age would lose their minds if they had to freelance a piece for, say, The New Yorker. There’s a level of de rigueur editing that yields what is known as “a New Yorker-style piece” that they just couldn’t imagine.

I know what Lacy means. For eight years, I’ve had the freedom to post whatever the hell I want in these pages. It would be tough for me to now fit my writing on media, marketing and advertising into someone else’s shell.

I also like what she says about “the first era of blogging,” which to me suggests that we’re now in the second era. I know AdPulp is in a new era. At one time, we played the speed and quantity game in an attempt to provide comprehensive coverage. Thankfully, that routine played itself out. Now I am happy to take my time when assembling a piece and happy to produce just a handful of quality posts per week.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.