Yesterday’s News

The future of long-form journalism and archives

by Marco Braghieri (Author)
©2021 Monographs XX, 230 Pages


Digital news production has gained increasing relevance in the last two decades. This book focuses on the affordances of contemporary, accelerated digital news production, proposing a new conception and connection between long-form journalism and archives. This approach is based on a theoretical framework of the contemporary digital experience which is defined as the «Digital Landscape».
Moreover, this book focuses on platforms and their practices as influential factors regarding long-form journalism and archival production, distribution and consumption. Assessing the shared features of these two entities – long-form journalism and archives – this book investigates how they can be re-imagined and re-used within the contemporary digital landscape.
Using a combination of multiple approaches, such as digital methods, text analysis as part of critical discourse analysis and semi-structured interviews, this book identifies common traits between longform journalism and archives. It aims to satisfy the need for novel approaches in the analysis, organization and output of digital news content, identifying novel connections and pathways which can be adopted in order to establish a fuller comprehension of contemporary digital news production.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Figures
  • Tables
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • List of Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • Part I The Digital Landscape and Journalism
  • Chapter 1
  • The Digital Landscape
  • Defining the Digital Landscape
  • The Digital Landscape and Its Main Actors: Individuals, Crowds and Platforms
  • Individuals, Crowds and Platforms Interactions within the Digital Landscape
  • Main Features of the Contemporary Digital Landscape
  • The Digital Landscape as Constant Flux
  • The Digital Landscape as a Disruption Enhancer
  • Chapter 2
  • The Media Industry and Archives in the Digital Landscape
  • Digital Media: A Non-creative Destruction
  • The Media Industry’s Failed Adaptation to the Digital Landscape
  • New Practices within the Digital Landscape: The Long-Tail Model and the Role of Filtering
  • The Digital Landscape as a Digital Public Sphere
  • Long-Form Journalism and Archives
  • A Functional Definition of Long-Form Journalism
  • The Common Ground between Long-Form Journalism and News Archives
  • Part II Long-Form Journalism, Two Case Studies
  • Chapter 3
  • ‘Snow Fall’: A Landmark in Long-Form Journalism
  • The New York Times ‘Snow Fall’, a Turning Point
  • An Introduction to ‘Snow Fall’
  • The Production Process and Reception of ‘Snow Fall’
  • ‘Snow Fall’s’ Structure and Writing
  • Long-Form Journalism Production in the Digital Landscape
  • ‘Snow Fall’s’ Legacy in the Development of Long-Form Journalism
  • The Influence of the Digital Landscape in the Evolution of Long-Form Journalism
  • Chapter 4
  • The Future of Long-Form Journalism: ‘An Unbelievable Story of Rape’
  • ProPublica and The Marshall Project’s ‘An Unbelievable Story of Rape’
  • An Introduction to ‘An Unbelievable Story of Rape’
  • The Production Process and Reception of ‘An Unbelievable Story of Rape’
  • ‘An Unbelievable Story of Rape’s’ Structure and Writing
  • Part III Archives in the Digital Landscape
  • Chapter 5
  • Archives, the Long-Term Memories of the Digital Landscape
  • Archives in the Digital Landscape: Memory and Use
  • Time in the Digital Landscape: Continuous Present and ‘Feed Fruition’
  • Archives in the Digital Landscape
  • Different News Outlet Archives in the Digital Landscape
  • Differences in News Outlet Archives in the Digital Archive
  • Early Media Production and Optical Character Recognition– Based Archives
  • Digitisation in Newsrooms and News Archives
  • Digitally Native Publishers and Archiving
  • Part IV Present and Future of Long-Form Journalism and Archives
  • Chapter 6
  • The Shared Trajectory of Long-Form Journalism and Archives
  • Common Traits between Long-Form Journalism and Archives
  • Long-Form Journalism and Archives: Relevance Over Time andAccessibility
  • Digital News Outlet Archives as Distribution Sources in the Digital Landscape
  • Long-Form Journalism and Aggregators: Longform.org
  • Longform.org as an Example of Long-Form Journalism Curation
  • Longform.org’s Activity in 2016, a Case-Study
  • Chapter 7
  • The Future of Long-Form Journalism and Archives: Digitisation, Datafication and Curation
  • Long-Form Journalism Aggregation and Curation as a Template for News Archive Fruition
  • Curation by News Media Outlets and Aggregators
  • Digitisation, Datafication and Curation
  • References
  • Appendices
  • Index

←ix | xi→


Figure 5.1Percentage of online time between mobile and non-mobile (Source: Comscore)

Figure 6.1The Guardian unique visitors (numbers in millions) from 2016 to 2019 (Source: UKOM)

Figure 6.2Single-story entries on Longform.org in 2016 divided per first publishing date

Figure 6.3All Longform.org’s 2016 single-story entries with first publication date prior to 2016, divided per decade

Figure 6.4News media outlets featured in Longform.org single-story entries in 2016, per number of entries

Figure 6.5Top twenty-five news media outlets per single-story entries in 2016 and the respective data regarding overall production sourced from Longform.org’s website

Figure 6.6Number of entries per news media outlet type in 2016 on Longform.org

Figure 6.7The top ten news media outlets in 2016 and the first publishing dates of their long-form stories divided per decade and in the year 2016

Figure 6.8All New Yorker entries on Longform.org divided per publishing era

Figure 6.9New Yorker single-story entries in 2016 per first publishing date

Figure 7.1Articles featured in 2016 tweets by @NYTArchives account divided per decade

Figure 7.2A comparison between Longform.org’s 2016 single-story entries and @NYTArchives tweets with a direct article reference

←xi | xiii→


Table 3.1Facebook Graph URL API results for ‘Snow Fall’s’ URL <http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2012/snow-fall/> obtained on 4 March 2016

Table 4.1Engagement data on ‘An Unbelievable Story of Rape’ series (source: ProPublica)

Table 4.2Definitions from Google Analytics Help Center

Table 4.3Facebook Graph URL API results for ProPublica’s version of ‘An Unbelievable Story of Rape’ as of 3 October 2016

Table 4.4Facebook Graph URL API results for The Marshall Project’s version of ‘An Unbelievable Story of Rape’ as of 2 October 2016

Table 6.1The five objectives in connecting users to archives after a datafication process

Table 6.2Longform.org’s entries in 2016, divided by type

←xiii | xv→


This book is essentially about how journalism combines with the digital. As a student, journalist, editor and researcher, journalism has been a constant presence in many of my recent years. I have tried to remember and use all the different perspectives that I experienced to create Yesterday’s News. However, this book does not begin by talking about journalism, rather by focusing on what currently defines and surrounds contemporary experience: the digital. Reflecting on and attempting to assess the landscape which has so profoundly changed journalism appeared to be an obligatory starting point. By describing long-form journalism and archives, their relation and development, this book tries to assess and explore the possibilities around the past, present and future narratives. By combining different methods, it suggests that a multidisciplinary approach is best suited to assess the nature of these two entities. Finally, it suggests a possible avenue for long-form journalism and archives, connected to digitisation, datafication and curation.

←xv | xvii→


I would like to thank Tobias Blanke, without whom this book would not exist. I feel profoundly grateful and lucky to have met him and to have had the chance to work with him. He has not only led me through this work but has also been a constant reference at each and every turn. I owe my gratitude to Mark Coté, for all the confidence and support he has always expressed towards me. His help has come across in many ways and countless times over the years. I would like to thank Joe Sexton and Andy Rossback for agreeing to be interviewed and allowing me to use their words in this work.

There are many other individuals who have helped me to conceive, start and finish this book. I am indebted to every one of them.

←xvii |

List of Abbreviations

AMPAccelerated Mobile Pages

APIApplication Programming Interface

CARComputer-Assisted Reporting

CDNContent Distribution Network

CMS  Content Management System

CSVComma-Separated Values


INIinitialization file format

JSONJavaScript Object Notation

OCROptical Character Recognition

PDFPortable Document Format

PNGPortable Network Graphics

SaaSSoftware as a Service

TIFFTagged Image File Format

URIUniversal Resource Identifier

URLUniform Resource Locators

XMLeXtensible Markup Language

←xix |


Long-form journalism and archives, the two entities that this book focuses on, sit at the intersection between journalistic production and the digital. Through a number of different methods, this book aims not only to establish a connection between these two entities but also to assess and describe how and why their nature is directly connected with the digital. This book starts with focusing on the digital itself, which we define as the ‘digital landscape’. By investigating the nature of the digital landscape and its main actors – which we identify in individuals, crowds and platforms – this book builds an ad hoc framework to assess and examine long-form journalism and archives. Finally, we look at the possible future interactions of long-form journalism and archives with the digital landscape, identifying an ongoing process of digitisation, datafication and curation which potentially opens up future avenues for these two entities.


XX, 230
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2021 (May)
digital journalism archives platform studies Yesterday’s News Marco Braghieri
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Wien, 2021. XX, 230 pp., 12 fig. b/w, 7 tables.

Biographical notes

Marco Braghieri (Author)

Marco Braghieri is a researcher working at the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London as research assistant in Big Social Data. In 2019, he earned a PhD in Digital Humanities at King’s College London and has been involved in a number of EUfunded research projects. Before completing his PhD and joining King’s College London, he worked for years as a journalist and editor, developing sound experience and interest in digital journalism.


Title: Yesterday’s News