Audiences are hungrier than ever for fast-paced and accessible news to keep them informed around the clock. The Australian media has been rapidly rolling out new and tweaked products to meet the demand for this type of news.Why is short-form and summary journalism on the rise?
Short-form news is becoming increasingly common across all mediums. The reason for its popularity lies in its ability to match up with the needs of busy news audiences and condense, often, complex news stories into an easily digestible format. It appeals to people who are constantly on the move; it’s the “fast food of journalism”, according to Claire Murphy, Host at The Quicky
Short-form journalism “more accurately reflects the habits of millennials and Gen Z news consumers”, Sam Koslowski and Zara Seidler, Co-Founders at The Daily Aus
, told Telum Media. “The short-form model that The Daily Aus
practices is appealing to young people as it breaks down barriers that might be associated with long-form writing, such as complex language or a high level of assumed knowledge.”
Claire Kimball, Founder at The Squiz,
says The Squiz
’s success has come from “audience demand for something that declutters the news.” Approaching it from the perspective of a reader or listener makes the decision about what fills the space is an easy one to make.How does short-form journalism work?
Short-form journalism means different things to different publishers. Southern Cross Austereo (SCA), for example, offers a bespoke news service
available via voice-activation on devices like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa. The service is updated several times daily. SCA also produces The Briefing
, a podcast which covers three-to-four of the day’s top news stories in under 20 minutes.
In an interview with Telum Media
in May, Jamila Rizvi, Co-Host at The Briefing
, spoke about what drew her to create short-form news. “I was drawn to the very concept of it - of producing and making news that is fast and relevant but also still has that rigour and depth to it.”
SCA Head of News and Current Affairs, Natasha Jobson, said
regarding the launch of The Briefing
in April this year: “SCA news has been delivering headlines on demand for three years via our apps and smart speakers, and in just the past year we’ve seen a 1,100 per cent increase in people listening to our news this way.”The Daily Aus
posts visually exciting, bite-sized news stories on social media platforms, including Instagram. “The experience of news should feel as easy as Facebook and Netflix”, Sam and Zara told Telum. “Young people are drawn to accessible content that is relevant to them.”What does this trend mean for the industry?
Although bite-sized journalism is a useful tool for keeping the general public informed, it should be seen as complementary to in-depth investigative journalism.
Claire Murphy told Telum that if someone hears or reads a small bite of a news story that impacts or interests them, they have the ability to seek more in-depth information if they wish.
“The best thing for someone in the short-form journalism game is to have a long-form format to lead people to if they want to expand their knowledge on a subject like we do with The Quicky
”, she explained.The Daily Aus
team also considers their short-form news output to be a conversation starter. “We are also totally transparent with our role in readers’ lives”, Sam and Zara told Telum. “We tell the audience that we’re the starting point for a self-guided deeper dive into the topics, which can be facilitated by us providing helpful links and resources. “
Short-form journalism shares its core values with longer-form writing; “pithy, engaging, factual, opinion-free content is only more in demand now”, says Claire Kimball. “But good products that make life easier are welcomed.” Claire Murphy adds that condensing a complex news story into something short that everyone can understand is “like having a superpower”. Short-form media business models continue to succeed due to the ability of bite-sized news stories to cut through the noise and meet the needs of busy news consumers.