I first used “slow journalism” in 2007 to describe storytelling that gives equal value to narrative and factual discovery. My contribution was original in one respect: using management theory, it evaluated slow journalism as an example of high-margin journalism at the luxury end of the market, compared to high-volume news at the other, or conventional journalism in the middle. In that sense, slow journalism can be understood as a way of beating the competition through differentiation. An awareness of markets offers an additional frame for understanding slow journalism, alongside others that emphasise its potential as a communal project. However, it is not a binary choice: the best insights arise from understanding the tension between opposites, such as financial and cultural capital (Bourdieu) or ulterior and ultimate motives (Burke). A focus on the editing of slow journalism helps to understand these tensions. It also provides a lens through which to view time. Editing, now commonly seen as an extra stage that slows textual production, first emerged as a way of speeding it up. An historical awareness of the material conditions of production can help distinguish between constraints that are specifically commercial, and those arising from a wider social production of texts.
- competitive strategy, cultural capital, editing, editors, literary journalism, market differentiation, material practice, New Journalism, slow journalism