‘One-sentence stories’: An oxymoron from the New York Times for the Apple Watch

033115blog one sentence story

"One-sentence" story from New York Times for Apple Watch

Credit: New York Times

I figured this had to be an early April Fool’s Day joke … or the New York Times doesn’t understand that “one-sentence story” is an oxymoron.

And a spokesperson for the newspaper tells me via email that it’s no joke. A press release reads:

The New York Times has developed a new form of storytelling to help readers catch up in seconds on Apple Watch. One-sentence stories, crafted specially for small screens, will provide the news at a glance across many Times sections, including Business, Politics, Science, Tech and The Arts.

One-sentence stories are accompanied by The Times’s award-winning photography and short, bulleted summaries. Readers can use Handoff to continue reading any story on iPhone or iPad, or tap “Save for Later” to build a personal reading list.

Here are some examples:

033115blog one sentence story2 New York Times

So you may be thinking: Aren’t these just headlines? Poynter asked that question and that same Times spokesperson responded:

“This isn’t a downstream experience – we specifically did not want to pull headlines or shrink stories down for a smaller screen, but rather create one-sentence stories written exclusively for the Watch.”

I’ve been a journalist for going on 40 years now. I know the difference between a headline and a story. Those “one-sentence stories” in the picture? They’re headlines.

Unless they’re an early April Fool’s Day joke.

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