Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

×
Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Newswriting basics: the inverted pyramid

1,303

Published on

Published in: Education, Technology
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
1,303
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
94
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. The inverted pyramid I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid at The Louvre Museum in Paris. Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/ (and some alternatives) backfromleave/, licensed under Creative Commons @ 2012 Beatrice Motamedi Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 2. A story should have a beginning, a middle and an end ... but not necessarily in that order. —Jean-Luc Godard, French filmmaker Photo at boingboing.net/Fair Use exemptionSunday, July 22, 12
  • 3. Inverted pyramids in science ... Dodecahedron, inverted pyramid faces 360 magnets. Each 15-magnet pentagon has a 15-magnet pentagonal pyramid mounted inside it, pointing inwards. This is an inverted 30- magnet pentagon unit. Magnet poles are aligned along the perimeter of each pentagon. Adjacent pentagons have poles aligned in the same direction at the edges (as evidenced by square instead of triangular patterns at the edges). Photo courtesy of sparr0 at http:// www.flickr.com/photos/sparr0/4267584197/, licensed under Creative Commons. Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 4. Inverted pyramids in business/marketing ... “The Influence Pyramid,” from Ed Batista: Executive Coaching and Change Management, at http://www.edbatista.com/2009/01/influence.html Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 5. Inverted pyramids in “The Simpsons” ... Top photo by Whiskey Media at http://www.screened.com/the- simpsons/17-28910/cliches/. Photo at right by Vanilla Fire at http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v328/VanillaFire1000/ KentBrockmanMargeontheLam.jpg Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 6. Help much? graphic from All Voices: Local to Global News, at http://www.allvoices.com/contributed- news/6122102/image/57826870-inverted-pyramid Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 7. Why the inverted pyramid? Try reading this On Saturday last a shocking and most brutal murder was committed in Paint Rock Settlement, which, for brutality and fiendishness, surpasses anything of the kind that we have ever been called upon to chronicle. It appears that a Mrs. Hicks and her two step-daughters, named respectively Mary and Kaziah, had for some time lived unpleasantly together, when the two daughters determined to put her out of the way. Accordingly, with monstrous intent, they forcibly conveyed their unfortunate victim to the smokehouse nearby, and commenced a series of tortures that even the veriest savage would have shrunk back from and grown hideous at — such was the enormity of their barbarity and wickedness. They first attempted to strangle their victim to death; but failing in that, these fiends in human shape bethought themselves a more refined, as well as expeditious mode of accomplishing their object, which was to pour melted lead in the ear of their helpless victim, and then to make assurance doubly sure, these devoted daughters struck the prostrate and dying woman several blows on the head with an axe.Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 8. Uh oh, we’re not finished yet ... Supposing the old lady dead or dying — having finished the "job" — these Christian daughters left their mother weltering in her blood and went to — church. Some of the neighbors soon after coming in, found Mrs. Hicks in the condition the daughters left her, administered restoratives and revived her sufficiently to relate the above detailed facts. We learn that Mrs. Hicks has since died of her injuries, and that the murderers are still at large, having secreted themselves so as to prevent the officers of the law from arresting them. (274 words) “A Brutal Axe Murder,” taken from the Kingston Tennessean on July 14, 1867. (Quoted in Reddick, DeWitt., The Mass Media and the School Newspaper, Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1985, p. 6) Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 9. Now try the AP summary lede/inverted pyramid version Police are searching for two women who left their stepmother dying in a pool of blood and headed to church after choking her, pouring lead in her ear, and striking her on the head with an axe. The incident occurred on Saturday in Paint Rock Settlement. The victim, (first name) Hicks, (age), had reportedly been feuding with her two stepdaughters, named Mary and Kaziah. The two allegedly attacked Hicks in the smokehouse near their home, where they attempted to strangle her, poured lead into one of her ears and then struck her several times on the head with an axe. Neighbors later found Mrs. Hicks in the smokehouse and were able to revive her while she recounted details of the attack. She later died. According to the dead woman, the stepdaughters left for church after the attack. The stepdaughters are still at large and believed to be hiding from police. (153 words) Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 10. When the inverted pyramid works well • Breaking news • Crime news • Obituaries (you didn’t begin with Jobs’ birth, but with death) • On the web Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 11. On the Web, the inverted pyramid becomes even more important since we know from several user studies that users dont scroll, so they will very frequently be left to read only the top part of an article. Very interested readers will scroll, and these few motivated souls will reach the foundation of the pyramid and get the full story in all its gory detail. —Jakob Nielsen, new media theorist Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 12. Mapping how “visitors” read: a 2009 study In our new eyetracking study, we recorded how 232 users looked at thousands of Web pages. We found that users main reading behavior was fairly consistent across many different sites and tasks. This dominant reading pattern looks somewhat like an F and has the following three components: • Users first read in a horizontal movement, usually across the upper part of the content area. This initial element forms the Fs top bar. • Next, users move down the page a bit and then read across in a second horizontal movement that typically covers a shorter area than the previous movement. This additional element forms the Fs lower bar. • Finally, users scan the contents left side in a vertical movement. Sometimes this is a fairly slow and systematic scan that appears as a solid stripe on an eyetracking heatmap. Other times users move faster, creating a spottier heatmap. This last element forms the Fs stem. Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 13. Results Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 14. When to go beyond the pyramid • Most feature stories — organization is great, but you need to engage • Stories that involve strong voices, vivid people and/or settings • Stories that point to large/complex issues or problems (cultural, societal, economic, political) • Stories that require focus on a sequence, timeline or series of actions Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 15. Alternatives to the pyramid • the martini glass • the kabob • the problem + 3 parts/solutions Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 16. the martini: facts first, then how we got there • especially good for stories that include any kind of timeline, for example, a sports story with a play-by-play; a crime story that describes the deed; a health story in which someone undergoes an operation; a story about a new grading policy at your school (how it works) • also good for service pieces (“how to” do something, e.g., floss your teeth, drive a car) • facts first (the glass), then pause and stretch out the sequence of actions • strong transition or flag to the reader: “Police gave this account” or “You’ll need to follow these steps” plus words of sequence (“first” “second” “finally”) Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 17. the martini: how it looks same story, new lede Talk about a good reason to go to confession. Police are searching for two women who left their stepmother dying in a pool of blood and headed to church after choking her, pouring lead in her ear, and striking her on the head with an axe. The incident occurred on Saturday in Paint Rock Settlement, which is located (where). The victim, (first name) Hicks, had reportedly been feuding with her two stepdaughters, named Mary and Kaziah. alerts reader to change in story structure Police gave this chronology of events: first, the stepdaughters allegedly lured Hicks to a smokehouse near their home. words of sequence (first, then, finally) carry out the chronology Then they attempted to strangle her. And then they poured lead in one of her ears. Finally, frustrated that Hicks was still alive, they struck her several times on the head with an axe. Neighbors later found Mrs. Hicks in the smokehouse and were able to revive her ... Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 18. the kabob: also known as the WSJ formula • begin with an anecdotal or narrative lede • draw back into a general discussion • return to the same anecdote/narrative from above • resume rest of story Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 19. How it looks anecdotal/narrative lede (also delayed ID) First they choked her, then they poured hot lead in her ear, and then, for good measure, they hit her on the head several times with an axe. And then, according to police, Mary and Kaziah Hicks put on their fancy clothes and went to church. “I’m shocked — they never said a thing,” said Cassiel Chadwick, 62, pastor of the All Saints Church, where the women worshipped last Saturday, allegedly after murdering their stepmother. a good quote, up high, specifically about this person/persons “In fact, we had a nice conversation about the flowers we’re planting in the church garden. I still can’t believe this happened.” The shocking murder of a Paint Rock woman is raising concerns about a new breed of young women who commit violent acts, seemingly without any second thoughts. A recent report by the FBI shows that young women aged 18 to 25 were responsible for 15 percent of all homicides last year, up from 10 percent in 2010. Mary and Kaziah Hicks may be part of a disturbing trend that sociologists and psychologists are just beginning to understand ... nut graf, and now go back to the girls and more details about their heinous crime ... Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 20. Another example/kabob-WSJ • “The Long Arm of Childhood: How Chronic Stress Impacts Oakland Teens in Body and Mind,” part 1 Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 21. #3: problem + three causes (or solutions) • “The Long Arm of Childhood,” part 2 Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 22. the “dirty dozen” of a news story* 1. The lede. 2. Second graf: gives more detail about the lede, backs up the lede. 3. Best quote. Make sure it relates to the lede and second graf. 4. The “nut graf.” Step back from the immediate details to provide some context. Tell how the current news fits into the larger picture. Tell what’s been happening lately or elsewhere, so the reader can answer, “so what?” 5. Summary of what’s to come: flash forward to what will come later in the story. 6. Supporting quotes. 7. Transition, then another supporting quote. Note: avoid using quotes from two people back to back. Use a transition to separate quotes and get from one paragraph to the next. Each quote should back up its own transition/topic sentence. 8. Transition, then final supporting quote. 9. Real-time color, anecdotes or examples: good stuff you haven’t used yet. 10. The past: is there additional history that will help your reader understand more about the subject? Has this sort of thing happened before? How is this time different or similar? 11. The future: wind up the story by looking ahead. What’s next? 12. The kicker: usually a short, high-impact sentence. It may be a poignant anecdote or a telling quote. It could also be a surprising bit of info that works better here than in the lede, or a next step (an event that is taking place tomorrow, next week, next year). *by SF Chronicle reporter Nanette Asimov Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 23. How many of the “dirty dozen” can you find? “The Freedom to Choose Your Pronoun,” Jennifer Conlin, The New York Times, Friday, Sept. 30 Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 24. Closing tips • Keep your paragraphs short and to the point. Underwriting is better and easier to correct than overwriting. • If and when you write a longer paragraph, do it intentionally — it should not be your lede, and it should come at a point in the story when you need longer sentences/grafs in order to deepen your story and to provide context and background. • One idea per paragraph. Don’t be simplistic, but do exercise control • Use words of transition Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12
  • 25. words of transition Wednesday, October 12, 11Sunday, July 22, 12

×