We Need a Slow News Movement

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You've heard of the Slow Food movement. Now it's time for the Slow News movement—an initiative to slow down the media news cycle and return it to a time where the prominent issues of the day were contemplated more thoroughly. That, at least, is the brainchild of veteran journalist Walter Shapiro. In a column for Politics Daily, he writes:

A Slow News Movement would be a form of reader rebellion. The faster-faster, win-the-morning, dominate-the-evening proponents of the new instant information journalism are not going to change their methods. Nor are the stink-bomb-tossing Breitbarts of this world suddenly going to behave like the reincarnation of Walter Lippmann. The reigning media orthodoxy is that tomorrow will be like today -- only more amphetamine-laced and more irresponsible.

Ask yourself: Do I really understand the world better by getting my news constantly in brief staccato bursts than I did 10 or 15 years ago, when news (even on cable TV) was packaged by editors?

...With the news media in the midst of a wrenching transition, there have to be protected spaces somewhere -- whether on the Internet or on cable TV -- for millions of citizens to savor and contemplate the news. The news of government, politics and the world is too important to be instantly consumed like a shopaholic racing through a mall. Our democracy simply cannot survive if we fail to see the forest for the tweets.

In some respects, the column smacks of meta-journalistic navel-gazing. It seems unlikely that a reader-driven rebellion could ever diminish the incentives media companies have to disseminate news bites and scooplets quickly. However, as evidenced by the Economist magazine's success, clearly some readers want slower, more comprehensive digests of the news. Whether or not this desire could turn into a "movement" has yet to be seen.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.