02.21.19: That’s all you get
FOR YEARS, readers have been telling us they’ll only give us 12 to 15 inches when they read a routine news story. After 12-15 inches, their attention flags and they move on. That’s it. That’s all you get…no matter how well-edited or well-written the story may be.
Using design, we can “camouflage” story length, just by running the piece across three or four (or more) columns. But, though running the story in multiple columns may make it appear shorter — and it may be more inviting at the start — still, reader attention will fall off after about 12-15 inches.
What that tells us, plain and simple, is that we must control story length. The longer the story — no matter how it’s packaged on the page — the more we risk losing readers before they get to the end of it.
So…12-15 inches. That’s it. That’s all you get.