Dying in print and despised online: New Zealand newspaper long-form in an online age

Beston, Anne
Sissons, Helen
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Master of Communication Studies
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Auckland University of Technology

This case study explores New Zealand long-form journalism through ethnographic interviews with newspaper feature journalists. As a traditional form of print journalism that demands time of both journalist and reader, the research explores the challenges long-form faces as online imperatives such as brevity and immediacy increasingly drive news content.

The results of the research show journalists perceive long-form as being under threat and less valued than it once was. As newspapers increasingly prioritise online content, journalists believe long-form is in danger of being left behind online, with little investment in new and innovative ways of presenting longer stories.

The research mirrors the results of other international studies which suggest print journalists are struggling to adapt to new online digital technologies. In this study, feature journalists also show resistance to new forms of computer-mediated communication such as social media. Further, interviewees show a high degree of uncertainty about the future of journalism in general and print feature journalism in particular. The research suggests the concept of the converged newsroom is far from being realised even as the online newsroom becomes increasingly dominant within newspaper companies.

This study is thought to be the first of its kind on feature journalism in New Zealand, while very little research appears to have been done internationally on how long-form journalism is faring in the digital era.

Newspaper , News print
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