The Guardian is experimenting with the format of content distribution in its new weekly printed publication The Long Good Read. The project attempts to marry the agility of online media with the in-depth reading experience of the print.
For this project, The Guardian uses the print-on-demand ARTHUR system by the Newspaper Club that helps create 500 print editions featuring long stories in just an hour. The newspaper is available only at the branded Guardian Coffee venue in East London. The algorithm is quite simple: robotic analytics searches for the top 30 articles among blog posts, short pieces, infographics and interactive features from the past week’s Guardian online, and filters them by themes that would resonate with the interests of readers in the café.
A handful of longer articles is arranged in a 24-page newspaper with a simple layout that is ready to be printed and delivered to the café customers by Monday morning each week. The Long Good Read project emerged several years ago to provide people an opportunity to save and review the recent articles later, in free time. It was a digital-only experiment by former Guardian developer Dan Catt, who decided to collect the paper’s feature stories into a stream of articles.
The new approach that combines print and digital gives new life to long pieces that may have been not read to the end or just ignored by readers because of their length. “It’s just a way of reusing that content in a more imaginative way and not getting too hung up on the fact it’s a newspaper,” commented Jemima Kiss, head of technology for The Guardian.