The Guardian Publishes The Equivalent Of A Classic Novel Every Day

What do Crime and Punishment and The Guardian’s daily output have in common? They’re the same length.

1. The Guardian and The Observer, along with TheGuardian.com, get through a lot of journalism in a week.

Getty Images.

2. But just how much exactly? This is the number of words the company published yesterday.

gu-word-count.appspot.com / Via Robert Rees

3. So in the same time it would have taken you to get through all that, you could have ploughed through Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, which is 195,000 words.

4. In fact The Guardian published 1.3 million words in the past seven days, of which more than half were in print.

revdancatt.github.io / Via Dan Catt

5. That’s not far from matching Proust’s three-volume À la recherche du temps perdu (Remembrance of Things Past), which weighs in at 1.5 million words.

6. Or nearly the same as reading all three volumes of Lords Of the Rings (473,000 words) two and half times.

7. To read all the 258,000 words The Guardian published on Friday would take more than 17 hours.

8. In other words, one quality newspaper brand – in print and online – can have as much reading in one day as several paperback books.

 

9. Of course, we don’t read newspapers and websites like books.


We dip in and out over the course of a day, and we only read the stuff that interests us. The two most prolific sections on The Guardian website in terms of word count are Football and World. Many readers won’t be interested in either of those things.

If you’re just interested in politics, for example, then you could get through that section’s daily output in less than 25 minutes.

10. And there is a point to all this.


Guardian News & Media is focused on making more money from online advertising and sponsorships – which means making more quality content that people want to read.

In the year to March the company made £55.9 million in digital revenue, up almost 30% on the previous year - it’s clear where any future business growth is going to come from.

11. Anyway, never mind the readers, spare a thought for the people who commission and edit this stuff.

And perhaps ask whether the publishing model that puts out that amount of content every day, with far fewer staff than five years ago, is sustainable? Plus, with traditional news providers increasingly challenged, what will happen to the plurality and comprehensive provision of news coverage in the next decade?

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