The Web provides an easy way to read great long-form pieces that are packaged more like a magazine article, writes public editor Sylvia Stead.

 By Sylvia Stead, public editor of The Globe and Mail

Online is a great medium for short breaking news or interesting tidbits. But it’s also an easy way to read great long-form pieces that are packaged more like a magazine article.

This is a great example of long-form journalism by feature writer Craig Offman on a Toronto neurosurgeon’s relentless and heroic crusade to develop an effective stroke drug.

A reader and medical writer, Terry Murray, wrote to say she was planning a piece for her blog about the edict last week from the editor of Reuters America that most stories should be no more than 500 words long. “Then I saw the feature in Saturday’s Globe on Dr. Michael Tymianski and his experimental stroke drug, starting on the first page of the Focus section and turning *twice*! … “

“I decided to look it up online to see just how long the piece was, and found that it was more than 5,000 words. Now I’m going to include a mention of this piece in my blog piece as an excellent example of a newspaper article that needed more than 500 words to tell an engaging story.”

Ms. Murray also noticed something new on the piece: “Reading time: 17 minutes” the article notes. She wondered how often the Globe posts an estimated reading time and how the editors decide which stories to flag in this way and why.

The editors tell me it is a new feature to help readers because this piece is a single page as opposed to a series of paginated page numbers at the bottom.

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Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.