Longform Narrative Journalism

“Snow Fall” and beyond

Authored by: David Dowling , Travis Vogan

The Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138887961
eBook ISBN: 9781315713793
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315713793-48

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Abstract

Announcing that she was stepping aside as the New York Times editor-in-chief, in July 2013, Jill Abramson heralded her replacement, Sam Sifton, as the publication’s new “Snowfaller-in-Chief.” The designation carried the prestige of the December 2012 publication of John Branch’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek,” which recounts an avalanche that killed three skiers in the Cascade Mountains. It also pointed to what she viewed as Sifton’s most vital role: to guide the newspaper toward the digital magazine market. Sifton’s ‘first assignment,’ Abramson wrote, “is to create an immersive digital magazine experience, a lean back read that will include new multimedia narratives in the tradition of Snow Fall” (Pompeo, 2013). “Snow Fall’s” profound success transformed the work’s title into a verb used by editors who want to create similarly flashy and high-profile projects. When faced with a major story, editors reportedly began to ask their staff: “Can we ‘Snow Fall’ this?” (Abramson as quoted in NetNewsCheck, 2013).

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