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A Short Read on Longform

I have mentioned once or twice that I can get a bit news-weary and overwhelmed by the endless cycle of information constantly barraging us. Don’t get me wrong, many of my strategies for taking a break, unplugging, and combating news fatigue are still working. (Seriously, I will never turn alerts back on. One of the best things I’ve ever done.)

But, even limiting my morning news consumption sources and logging off Twitter sometimes doesn’t help because the news stays with me. And at that point, I need more than to simply disconnect—I need a distraction. Silly internet forays into Buzzfeed quizzes or roundups of the most hilarious parenting fails or most adorable baby animals sometimes offer a quick mental break and distraction enough for me to reenergize and get back to it.

However, I’ve found another surprising antidote distract myself from the never-ending breaking news: longform articles. Yep, that’s right, I’m taking a break from news with more news.

Hear me out, though.

Longform has a similar appeal as podcasts, but these articles actually require my full attention and no multitasking. Often, podcasts only get about half of my concentration and I’m distracted by other tasks instead of fully listening, so I lose some of the quality of the reporting or miss key parts of the story. And I’m not trying to cram in a myriad of topics in 280 characters in an endless loop or nonstop two-minute reads; I’m concentrating on a deep dive into one subject. I feel like a more mindful, intentional, and focused reader with longform.

Longform articles are heavily researched, more narrative in nature, often more personal and more representative of the journalists writing them. There’s room for wisps of poetry to break through and temper the stark facts of news. You can start and stop these longer pieces as needed like a short story or an essay, or you can read them in their entirety during a break to clear your head.

And yet, they’re often still relevant and timely, sometimes even full of hard-hitting news. The latest one to pull me in is this fantastic New York Times Magazine piece on climate change. It’s definitely a topic that appears in the news all of the time (and something that I constantly worry about), and even though it cast a grim pall, I enjoyed the article very much.

If you’ve got any stellar long reads, please send them my way!