The Long Lede Initiative
The Long Lede Initiative
Longform factual writing appears in magazines, books, periodicals, newspapers, newspaper magazines and inserts, and online publications. What distinguishes it from other types of writing is not word count alone, but also the length and complexity of the process behind the word count.
They piece together complicated histories and conflicting viewpoints, wade through masses of data, seek out hard-to-access knowledge and people, travel to unfamiliar and sometimes remote locations, conduct in-depth interviews with a variety of sources and, most importantly, distil their hard work into a neat, finished product that is accessible for a popular audience.
With so many elements, it is no wonder that the prospect of attempting factual longform is intimidating to new writers. And no wonder that longform writing isn’t cheap to produce.
But the market for longform is well and truly alive.
In an increasingly bewildering news cycle, editors and publishers recognise readers’ hunger for pieces that do more than provide information and report facts. They want writing that makes sense of the world. Longform prose can achieve this in ways that other formats cannot. Longform is also versatile – what starts as a brilliantly researched article can later become a podcast, a documentary, a book or a TV series.
Why are we investing in longform?
Over the last two decades there has been less time, money and resources available for longform. Crucially, there is less time and opportunity to induct new journalists, many of whom may have only ever published short news stories to tight deadlines, into the world of longform.
And it’s not just journalists: the Australian longform writing scene comprises all sorts. Academics, think tankers, novelists, researchers, politicians, poets, artists, scientists, medical professionals – all kinds of people can and do contribute their writing to Australian longform, and we are all the richer for it.
But finding one’s way into longform is not easy. This is why the Judith Neilson Institute, in collaboration with Penguin Random House Australia and Copyright Agency, have developed the Long Lede Initiative.
What is the Long Lede Initiative?
At the end of the process, mentees will have the opportunity to publish their 5000-word piece in a Penguin Random House anthology. By participating in the program, mentees will develop the skills, contacts and confidence to forge ahead with their longform portfolio.
Who should apply, and what should
they write about?
publishing – especially to longer lengths of at least 3000 words.
Applicants must be Australian residents.
Applicants can submit ideas on any topic of their choosing.
Keep in mind that longform factual writing, while sometimes written in the first person, is not opinion writing, and it is not primarily autobiographical. It borrows devices from fiction writing but what distinguishes it is that it is based in fact and heavily researched.
How to apply?
will take place between October 2022 – April 2023.