Alan Mutter makes a point that I’ve been hearing editors make most of my career: Most newspaper stories are too long.
I’m sure he’s right. But some newspaper stories are too short. And story length is way down the list of problems facing the newspaper business.
I remember when I was at the Des Moines Register, Jim Gannon, who I believe was executive editor at the time, decreed that no story could be longer than he was tall. He was 5’10”, as I recall, so a story couldn’t be longer than 70 inches. 70 inches! Register reporters were writing so long that Gannon’s idea of introducing some discipline was to limit stories to 70 inches (and newspaper columns were wider then than they are today). (more…)