PolitiFact, launched by the St. Petersburg Times in August 2007, recently won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for its coverage of the 2008 election. That’s pretty amazing. I heard about this on NPR this morning and what was probably most compelling was the commentary from someone speaking on behalf of PolitiFact. He remarked that articles needed to be shorter, which seems to have helped the site become the success that it is today. It occurred to me that it’s not just articles that need to be clipped but almost everything.
As much as there is to compete for our time (Tweeter, Facebook, Linked in, a real newspaper, Youtube, etc.) we still only have twenty-four hours in a day. That, of course, is both good news and bad news. It’s good news, because that twenty-four hour period represents a somewhat level playing field. It’s true that people are engaged in all sorts of media at all hours and those on the publicity side and media side have had to adjust, but at least we’re working with the same numbers.
But since there’s so much more for us to look at and listen to we have to sort of succumb to this notion that not only do people not have the time they used to but they also aren’t willing to sit with a cup of coffee reading their morning paper. They’re walking to the train, they’re waiting on the platform, they’re sitting in train, they’re walking to the office all the while checking on breaking news. You can put you nose up, but this is our reality and I have no doubt that the people who survive are going to be the ones who can accept this and then run with it.
Just because a piece of news is short doesn’t mean for a second that it’s not complete.