As many regular readers and commentators on this site know, in January Groundviews launched the Long Reads section. The print media industry in Sri Lanka, for economic and political reasons, does not afford a space for compelling essays on society, politics, the arts, culture, religiosity, literature and other topics. Long Reads on Groundviews aims to provide a platform for serious, vibrant essayists to publish their writing.
Interestingly, long form journalism is going through something of a revival online. The Atavist, a new application for the iPhone / iPad is free to download, but users have to buy essays that are specifically geared for the devices, incorporating not just text, but audio, photography and video as well. Long Reads, a tremendously interesting website that curates essays from many sources on the web, including mainstream print media in the West, serves as the inspiration for GV’s Long Reads section. Then there’s the recently announced Readability, offering a way to both support essayists online, as well as read content in a pure, textual form. Finally, there is Instapaper, a free and easy way to not just curate interesting web pages, but also read them in pure textual form. Instapaper is so good we have incorporated it into Groundviews – allowing any reader to not just format an article in a visually compelling manner and save it for later reading, but also access it through any PC, iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone.
But at the end of the day, it’s original, compelling long form content we are interested in and want to support the creation of. To engage the burgeoning readership of Groundviews, we hope that over 2011 readers will send us essays on topics that require a fuller investigation, which for example can range from the art of tea making to Political Opposition in a Nihilistic Sinhala Society.
Essays can bebetween 4,500 – 5,000 words that eschew an academic form of writing for an expression that is sardonic, crisp and pulls no punches.
After the collection of a sufficient corpus of essays, Groundviews may consider publishing a printed volume of the content and relevant commentary.