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Byliner Looks to Shake Up Long Form Journalism

April 19, 2011

In a post today, TechCrunch addressed a new company that has burst onto the scene.

Byliner hopes to create an entirely new form of post called a “single.” Sort of a mixture of a blog post and book, the idea is that it is a long form journalism piece meant to be red in approximately 2 hours. The first release is a piece about the recently unveiled scandal surrounding Greg Mortensen and his allegedly fabricated books. The amazing thing about this is that the story only broke days ago, and we already have something similar to a book on the topic. What Byline offers is a way to speed up the publishing process for longer journalism.

The author does bring up a legitimate issue, which is time. It is easy to browse blogs and skim, but long form journalism needs to be consumed slowly. It’s not a matter of good content, but a matter of time.

I believe that Byliner has hit an unserved market, though. For those looking for long form journalism that isn’t the length of a book, this is it. Byliner stories may be the journalism equivalent to short stories in literature, and that’s exciting. It’s a new form that provides longer narratives in shorter time. I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to see a rebirth of the series, with authors writing book length works on the much quicker time frame offered by Byliner.

As a brand new company, it’s impossible to say really how the technology will take off. Without writers, it won’t get very far. But, as the TechCrunch author said, she was quickly won over by the concept, and that may be a sign that many other journalists and authors will join in once they find out about it. For now, they just need to make themselves known.

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