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.

Changing Planet


Meet the Author
Colby is a member of the National Geographic Mission Programs team. She works in outreach in the Explorer Programs, including the Genographic Project, the Big Cats Initiative, Pristine Seas and Change the Course. She received her BA from Hamilton College and her MBA from the Smith School of Business.