Long form

Now more than ever, we need to know and understand the issues affecting and challenging our country and our world, instead of letting titillating and false headlines distract us from the real issues.

When people ask what Inquietudes is about, I either direct them to the site’s About page or say my posts are mostly restless thoughts that call for something deeper, and longer, than a tweet or a share on social media.

Back in the day, blogs were the original social media platform. Intrepid Internet users took to the Net to share information, resources, and knowledge that was not easy to come by. At the time, Google was only a novelty word few of us could pronounce, let alone spell, and the search engine had not yet reached the verb status it enjoys now. Twitter would not make an appearance until a decade later, so most of what people found on blogs and personal Web sites were topics explored and expounded upon ad nauseam, leaving readers with a good understanding of what was meant to be said about such topic. Succinct and to the point were not en vogue, so rants and diatribes could go on for paragraphs, if not days, if flamers were involved.

Inquietudes harks back to a time when attention spans were able to focus on written pieces that are longer than 140 characters, and whose authors attempt to provide more original content than what a share attempts to on social media. This, admittedly, weeds the number of readers down to a handful. These readers, however, are interested in topics and rants blog writers share, and they appreciate the time and effort that goes into stringing a number of words together.

I have to admit that I too suffer from a reduced attention span when reading or browsing the Web. While I don’t read as many blogs or visit as many Web sites as I did when I started blogging, there remain a few blogs I do have interest in reading and there are Web sites I can’t spend a few days without visiting. Some of these Web sites are reliable sources of “un-fake” news, with articles and information harking back to the days of old-style journalism: news based on facts (not opinions), quantitative information (instead of midnight tweets), and reliable sources (which do not include a certain Kellyanne).

One of my favorite long-form journalism publishers is the The New Yorker, a magazine devoted to classic style investigative journalism and excellent writing source. I have been a New Yorker reader for two decades, and even though I can’t claim to have read every issue cover to cover, there are plenty of articles that have given me a deeper and better understanding of current events than anything I have found posted on Facebook.

Recently, The New Yorker has had some troubling reads about the current administration and their political entanglement with a certain foreign country. The articles are not quick reads; seldom does The New Yorker have a quick read. The magazine’s articles are considered long-form journalism: in depth write-ups about a particular topic, subject, or person that gives readers a an informed understanding of the subject at hand.

Long form journalism is a dying style of reporting, given most people who get their news on the Internet only read tantalizing headlines before they share the headline with their followers. The New Yorker, in contrast, reveals very little in a headline and reserves the meat-and-potatoes of the story to after about 15 minutes of reading after the opening sentence. What transpires in the time in between is the depth and information most news services lack, and what news pundits seem to have little grasp of.

I recently read several stories in the magazine worth sharing with readers, if they’ve read far enough into this post.

In “Trump, Putin, and the New Cold War” Evan Osnos, David Remnick, and Joshua Yaffa offer an inside look at what lies behind the 2016 election interference by Russia and what possibly lies ahead. The article is a challenging read, but offers a very good discussion and background on Putin’s tactics and approach for discrediting American democracy and the West. The article covers quite a bit of history, but after reading the last sentence, one feels that an independent and bipartisan investigation on what really happened is not only necessary but required.

In turn, “What Calling Congress Achieves” by Kathryn Schulz is an insightful report of what really happens when a constituent calls his or her Congress representative to complain about an issue. What I enjoyed most about Schulz’s article was the history behind American voting activism and how the US Congress began taking constituents’s calls. The article races through time to current modes of communication (e-mail, phone, tweets, and social media) and suggests which ones would work better, and under what circumstances, when reaching a representative.

Finally, “Donald Trump’s Worst Deal” by Adam Davidson sheds light on a Trump-ism and blunder that one is not likely to find being reported in the evening news or talked about in any spin-zone. This is #SAD because the article gives readers a clear understanding of how the Trumps handle their dealings. And artful it is not.

As long time reader, I’m fond of long-form journalism and long-form stories. I enjoy reading The New Yorker in magazine and Kindle format. Part of the enjoyment is immersing myself in a well-written story that leaves me feeling like I understand a topic better than when I started reading — or outraged at knowing that what some people in Washington are peddling is not true. Some people might dismiss it because they feel it’s too high-brow for them or it takes too long to read. But it is precisely that effort that makes it a worthy and necessary news magazine for today’s political atmosphere.

Now more than ever, we need to know and understand the issues affecting and challenging our country and our world, instead of letting titillating and false headlines distract us from the real issues.

About the author Walter

Walter lives and works in and around South Florida. When not practicing or studying acupuncture, you can find him at one of Miami’s beaches, or in a coffee shop lost in the pages of a good book. Walter enjoys diverse interests such as reading Tarot, practicing Qi Gong and Tai Chi, learning Buddhist dharma, practicing shamanic healing, writing for his blogs, reading Oriental philosophy, traveling to new places and old favorites, exploring contemplative photography with his iPhone, sitting quietly in meditation, practicing healthy fitness, and promoting wellbeing.

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  1. As a fan of the New Yorker for a good 60 years or so (family subscribed to it — I fell for it early and remained devoted) I have been delighted to the amount of time and effort they are putting into opposing and exposing this sad, pathetic parody of a president. They’re doing it in every department of the magazine — prose pieces, the cover, the cartoons, the works. Bless them; I hope they eventually get some kind of journalism award.

  2. I do love a good rant.

  3. I’m a fan of the New Yorker. I must admit I enjoy the cartoons before reading the articles and stories. The New Yorker is a national treasure.

    1. I love the cartoons too. I start with the covers them and then get into the meet and potatoes. I love the magazine too.

  4. Nice post, buddy! Naked hugs!

  5. Well said
    Alas to get the full story or anything needs a longer time to read etc. Headlines are not enough.
    PS I love the New Yorker too.

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