Let's Go Long
Long-form is a type of journalism. If you are stupid and young and you wrote something that was several thousands words long, you probably think you are writing long-form journalist. You are not. Probably, you've read a few of these pieces. Maybe you left a tl;dr in the comments.
"What, then, is the function — the purpose — of 'long-form'? To allow a writer to delve into the true complexities of a story, and also to bring readers closer to the experience of other people. Whether a long-form story is published in a magazine or on the web, its goal should be to understand and illuminate its subject, and maybe even use that subject to (subtly) explore some larger, more universal truths. Above all, that requires empathy, the real hallmark of great immersive journalism." [NYT]
Going long is about more than word count. A monkey could type 10,000 words in a row. Well, perhaps not words, but characters, surely, given the right tools. IMO, LFJ is about: immersion, empathy, and depth. Unsure you have met these requirements? You have not.
"I have had it with long-form journalism. By which I mean—don’t get me wrong—I’m fed up with the term long-form itself, a label that the people who create and sell magazines now invariably, and rather solemnly, apply to their most ambitious work. Reader, do you feel enticed to plunge into a story by the distinction that it is long? Or does your heart sink just a little? Would you feel drawn to a movie or a book simply because it is long? ('Oooh—you should really read Moby-Dick—it’s super long.')" [Atlantic]
No one ever said long-form journalism that goes beyond word count is fun. It is hard. One could argue it took me 10 years to write "They Shoot Porn Stars, Don't They?" because that's the period of time over which it ranges -- longer, really. And who wants to work that hard for that long? It's so much easier to upload another blog post, watch another TV show, fill up endless empty spaces with words considering subjects about which you fundamentally know nothing.
"Over the next ten minutes, he threatens to beat her, threatens to torture her, pulls up her shirt, pulls up her skirt, hits her breasts, hits her thighs, throttles her by the neck with both hands, humiliates her, degrades her, makes her cry, chokes her until she is gasping for air. He gets her to tell the camera she is 27 years old and the only reason she’s here doing this particular job on this particularly day in this particular hotel room in the Valley is for the money, and the fact of the matter is she has two young children to support, of whom the man asks rhetorically, and seemingly for the sole purpose of screwing with her head, 'They’re going to grow up to be proud of her, right?'" [TSPSDT]