Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sentence-long paragraph: a new trend?

This morning I was again struck by that article from the CNN website. No, it wasn't about the topic. Rather the format. Look at this, there is a new paragraph for every sentence. I am somewhat use to read, a person you'll call a moderate reader. From what I learned in school, I use to make a break between two paragraph. A paragraph marks the end of a topic or an argumentation, and the break is here to mark that, and also let you a short time to digest the overall content. The second reason of a paragraph is to mark visually the different parts of a writing to allow a quicker navigation and overview of the content.

So look all these links. It's not an inadvertence, or a single editor messing with the editing rules. It's a trend. And quite worrying actually. The problem with these articles is you can't understand them. Why? Because if you're asked how many points the article made, or if it does have a these and anti-these, you won't know without rereading the whole article. This type of writing messes with your head, hiding the important information and flooding you with clusters of words without much structure. It probably won't make you wiser, because you'll find hard just to parse it.

So where does that comes from? I suppose it has some roots in micro-blogging. Of course that derives from the original sense of micro-blogging. I came to that idea because that comes at around the same time medias begin to integrate widely Twitter and Facebook in their publication model. But that may also be from texting. Maybe even some expert found out it was better to get the young crowd reading. Thoughts?

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