Is it time for a "slow news" movement?

by Nicole Martinelli
Oct 30, 2018 in Digital Journalism

With the 24/7 news cycle becoming a reality, some wonder whether it's time to slow down and get back to quality journalism.

John Macfarlane, editor and co-publisher of Canadian magazine The Walrus, wrote a thoughtful editorial about what breaking news means now.

"Being first is still the name of the game, but all-news channels, smart phones, and social media have radically transformed the pace at which it’s pursued — and not always for the good," he writes.

Macfarlane's musings were spurred by the Osama Bin Laden assassination, when the White House held a late-night news conference after the news had already been broken on microblogging service Twitter.

And by quality journalism, that may simply mean taking the time let a story develop and follow it.

"Fearmongering crime stories could disappear if newsrooms worked the stats, thought about whether they were terrified to walk the streets (and if they aren’t, refused to let people sensationalize the stories), considered the causes of crime, sought prevention options, and demanded more of politicians and police than tough-on-crime announcements," writes Jeff Samsonow at the Edmontonian, in response to Macfarlane's editorial.

Of course, if slow news does become a movement, it will have to co-exist with fast news. Case in point: Macfarlane's editorial was first published on the magazine's website -- the online preview precedes the September 2011 newsstand edition. Samsonow noted over Twitter that he was getting getting texts/DMs about [the] call to slow down news, presumably by journalists winded by fast news.

As someone who has worked in Italy (birthplace of the slow food movement) on stories that required months to come together stories and blogged daily, I love this idea.

What do you think?