Conspiracy theorists, start your blogs:
The Associated Press on May 6 issued a memo demanding that editors limit most stories to 300-500 words. One of the reasons for the policy was this:
Our regional desk editors are spending a lot of time cutting stories; they can give better, more comprehensive, faster-to-the-wire edits to stories that are more tightly written.
Reuters on May 6 issued a memo demanding that editors limit most stories to fewer than 500 words (an established Reuters guideline):
Almost every story Reuters produces in the Americas should be shorter than 500 words, unless we have exclusive information or a unique idea that will make it distinctive. We want to apply this principle to all types of stories, both initiative and spot, although to avoid foolish consistency we will sometimes make exceptions for a few very big stories.
Time and productivity figured into the rationale behind the memo:
We often spend too much time reporting, refining and updating stories that will never set us apart from the crowd. That takes time and money away from the reporting and editing that should go into distinctive content.
Same day, same word-count limit, similar problem.