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Nieman Journalism Lab
Pushing to the future of journalism — A project of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard

Whenever a new form of online media comes along, it’s pilloried in some corners as insufficient for real content. Think blogs in 2002 (“It’s just guys eating Cheetos in their mothers’ basements!”) or Twitter circa 2009 (“You can’t say anything in 140 characters! #longform”). And we’ve seen the same sort of reaction with the rise of new short-form video networks like Vine and Instagram: “You can’t show anything real and valuable in 15 seconds!”

Changing people’s minds on this sort of thing usually requires a new set of people doing work that embraces the constraints of the form — while at the same time being undeniably professional and high quality. With that in mind, here’s the Dutch chef Bart van Olphen, who has started the world’s shortest cooking show, Fish Tales, on Instagram (via Kottke). In 15 seconds or less, Bart shows how to cook a complete seafood dish:

It helps that he’s making simple seafood dishes and not something old-line French — you probably couldn’t squeeze pâté en croûte into 15 seconds; Julia Child needed the full half-hour, after all — but even so, it’s a remarkable act of compression.

I have no idea what van Olphen’s business model is — he has a book for sale, and I imagine any notice he attracts for this could be turned into catering, teaching, or other kinds of work. But his little cooking show is evidence that you can build interesting things if you understand and use the limits of the form.

— Joshua Benton
                                   
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