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Slow Journalism: Deep Storytelling in the Digital Age

Impoverished African migrants crowd the night shore of Djibouti city, trying to capture inexpensive cell signals from neighboring Somalia—a tenuous link to relatives abroad. From part one of the Out of Eden series published in the December 2013 issue of National Geographic. (Photo by John Stanmeyer)
Slow journalism is making an effort to dig more deeply into stories, going beyond the headlines and summaries that fly around the high-speed, high-tech world in an instant. (Photo by John Stanmeyer)

You are invited to join our conversation on reporting with a slower beat in an increasingly fast-tempo world. Tune in to a live panel discussion with journalists (to appear here) on Tuesday, January 13 at 6:30 PM EST. Ask your questions on Twitter with the hashtag #DigitalCampfire or post them in the comments below.

The fast pace of the modern lifestyle—born from high-speed, hand-held, wireless connectivity—has not only changed the way we send, receive, and consume information, but has transformed the way journalists operate. This has led some of them to make a concerted effort to slow down and take a different tack.

“Slow Journalism is deep journalism—journalism that is informed by deep immersion in the story at ground level,” explains National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek.

Salopek is conducting an experiment in this modern expression of a timeless human pursuit. He’s engaging with major stories of our time at the natural speed of his own footsteps as he retraces our ancestors’ migration from Africa to South America with his Out of Eden Walk. Along the way he’s not just looking for the latest news updates, he’s revealing the texture of the lives of people he encounters: nomads, villagers, traders, farmers, and fisherman who live within front-page stories, but normally don’t make the news themselves.­


Experts in the field of journalism will weigh in on the developing role of reporting at a slower pace in our digital world on January 13, 2015 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Paul Salopek, virtually from the trail, will join Ann Marie Lipinksi from the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, Evan Osnos of the New Yorker, and Susan Goldberg from National Geographic Magazine. Frank Sesno from the School of Media & Public Affairs at George Washington University, will moderate the discussion.

The conversation will also shed light on how technological innovation can complement slow journalism and explore ways to encourage journalists to adopt the approach. Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Magazine, Susan Goldberg suggests that journalists have the responsibility to “do more than regurgitate what’s in the notebook, and try to synthesize and analyze stories for people.”

Evan Osnos sees this as a great benefit of slow journalism: “When everybody else is moving faster, and you slow down, you create an immediately fascinating way into your story that people don’t otherwise get in their lives.”

We invite you to pause and join this “digital campfire” discussion by watching the live video feed (to appear here) on Tuesday, January 13 at 6:30 PM EST. You can ask your questions by commenting on this blog post or tweeting them with the hashtag #DigitalCampfire.

Learn more about and read updates from Paul’s Out of Eden Walk.

This event is funded by the Knight Foundation.

Comments

  1. Win Kyaw Oo
    Myanmar
    January 25, 2015, 8:17 am

    Slow but accurate. Not to be sensational. Let’s find out how faster we could response to fast-pased flow of information to come up with solutions to societal issues we face today.

  2. Richard Margesson
    Sunshine Coast, Australia
    January 16, 2015, 6:22 pm

    I regret finding out about this event a few days too late and would love to know if you’ll post a transcript or recording online. Paul, you are a hero of mine and your ideas and example deeply informed the theme of my 1500 km walk down the length of NZ last year. Look after yourself.

  3. HikerBob
    southern New Mexico
    January 14, 2015, 12:57 pm

    As did I Paige. About 3 hours too late and then I did not see the ntoice until this morning. Paul is incredible. This is a great practice for anyone who even just keeps a meditative journal or else reports on mass media.

  4. Paige Smith
    California
    January 14, 2015, 1:47 am

    Unfortunately, I found out about this forum a few hours too late. Will the recorded forum be available to watch at a later date? Just wondering how I can view this discussion after the fact. Thank you! Sorry I missed it!

  5. Bill Wehner
    Columbus NM
    January 14, 2015, 12:43 am

    Take care out there, Paul. Really have enjoyed sharing this journey with you; thank you.

  6. LLENI PACH
    United States
    January 14, 2015, 12:04 am

    I am so sorry I couldn’t attend, could I have a way to listen a recording of the meeting, i admire this committed adventure, it is a magnificent modern Odyssey.

  7. Larry Hale
    Vancouver Island Canada
    January 13, 2015, 11:29 pm

    Paul’s reporting of his adventure to me is the most interesting journalism I’ve ever encountered, extremely informative and as down to earth as you’ll ever get. I’m 78 years old and I hope I still have my health and mobility so hopefully I’ll be able to walk with him when he gets to the coast of British Columbia.

  8. Daryl w. Saunders
    Laguna niguel,ca.
    January 13, 2015, 10:52 pm

    In traveling threw so many colters ,what is the one thing that made the people happy?

  9. Taylor Hernandez
    El Paso, Texas
    January 13, 2015, 6:43 pm

    The Out of Eden Walk is truly an inspiration to us all, but I am curious, what is it that makes you keep going? It’s not an easy journey, and I’m sure to some degree you miss home, so what is it that motivates you everyday?

  10. Patrick
    NY
    January 13, 2015, 6:29 pm

    The link to the live video feed leads to a download, not to a video feed. Is there an updated link? I don’t want to miss this!

  11. frank weaver
    Florida
    January 13, 2015, 6:09 pm

    Do you think your experience would be drastically changed if you left a day early or later, or maybe a week earlier or later?

  12. Renata
    São Paulo
    January 13, 2015, 5:57 pm

    Will it be recorded so that we can watch later if we can’t make it in time to watch it live?

  13. Renata
    São Paulo
    January 13, 2015, 5:51 pm

    Will it be recorded so we can watch later ?? I’d love to watch it but I might not be able at the time specified

  14. Holly Ahlin
    USA
    January 12, 2015, 3:00 pm

    This is facinating! This very fast pased ditgtal world, this is a new opening to journalism. I’m not a journalist, but I get it.
    I look forward to learning about Slow Journalism!

  15. Octavio Lerma
    El Paso, Texas
    January 12, 2015, 11:22 am

    Just as high speed photography allows us to see in mesmerizing detail the concealed dynamism in the natural world, slow journalism reveals the unsuspected details of our long human experience. When these are revealed, the experiences no longer seem as foreign, separate or incoherent, but connected. Almost personal.

    I wish to thank Paul Salopek, National Geographic, The Knight Foundation and the Newseum for This invaluable experience.

  16. Vanessa Blaylock
    The Hague, NL
    January 12, 2015, 9:59 am

    Thanks Colby, this talk sounds great. Slow food… slow journalism, I get it! 🙂

    For those of us who aren’t yet slow enough to listen live, will there be an archive of it after? An audio podcast would be ideal for me. TY!

  17. Geoff Walker
    New Zealand
    January 9, 2015, 4:35 pm

    Looking forward to this…. slow journalism is all I know..