Longform: The Confidence Game

This essay was hard to wrap my head around. It has a vocabulary that is richer than my own, which made it difficult to digest. What made me continue reading through the Confidence Game was that the content of the article was portrayed as important to society, with information that made it clear I hold a stake in this content as a reader and as a part of a new generation. I think that is what makes this essay, and most of the longform I have been reading in this class, valuable – it tells the reader why they should care about it, rather than reporting a neutral perspectives (as described in the article). Instead of mindless dribbling on a subject, the content of the article always circled back to the reader, and at the end of the article, Starkman informed the readers of what they could do about the information he had shared within his article. I think this is what readers enjoy about longform writing, when the content comes back to the reader, and a list of response options is placed into their hands. Personally, it makes me feel like I am more involved in a discussion rather than being talked at or talked down to. Starkman made a point to identify the changes in the relationship between writer and reader that has evolved in tandem with technology – it is less hierarchical than it has been throughout history.  As I read, Starkman introduced the current and imminent impact modern networks have on the future of news through the scope of long-form journalism. In one particular investigation Starkman wrote “Like Jarvis, Shirky is a leading proponent of the idea that we are passing through a watershed, not just for our generation or era, but for all of human history. This is the idea of the “Gutenberg parenthesis,” coined by a Danish scholar, that holds that the Internet has the potential to revolutionize human social life to a degree that we cannot now understand, just as Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press paved the way for, eventually, modernity itself.”

There were a number of steep claims that suggest the connectivity between people and nations that now exists through miracles of technology is going to change the way people interact and share information forever. Reading through his meanderings (with the inclusion of supportive evidence), these claims weren’t out of the blue. He gave his perspectives on journalism supportive context that convinced me his reasoning wasn’t incorrect, and invited me to think about the theories of news’s future. He made a clear case that a revolution is occurring within journalism, and how journalism is currently being perceived, and is going to be perceived in the future is within question. The question? Well there wasn’t one question about the future perceptions of longform and it’s impact. Thats why this article is interesting. It is investigative. It asked many questions about its subject matter and granted me different perspectives on the newly introduced topic. It went further to ask me as a reader what I thought of what was happening. I was invited to ponder with Starkman, rather than read Starkman’s ponderings.


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