Presentation on theme: "THE INVERTED PYRAMID Creating a News Story. The Inverted Pyramid Some stories are told chronologically, from beginning to end. But journalists don’t want."— Presentation transcript:
The Inverted Pyramid Some stories are told chronologically, from beginning to end. But journalists don’t want their stories told from the beginning of a news event. –Journalists give away the ending first. –They know readers are interested in the outcome. –There is no rising action in a hard news story. –Instead of rising action, the information is delivered in order of importance. The most important comes first. The least important is left for the end. This story form is widely known as the inverted pyramid. It is not the only form used by journalists, but it is the preferred and expected form for most hard news stories.
The Inverted Pyramid The inverted pyramid writer organizes whole sentences and paragraphs based on news value. Writers compare each fact, each detail and organize them based on which is most important to the story. The inverted pyramid begins with the lede, of course. But what comes next? After the lede, reporters provide details, clarification, facts, an explanations of the current situation, background information and quotes that help to tell the story and give opinions from people involved in the story.
The Nut Graph For some stories, the lede doesn’t tell the reader why the story is significant. Readers are left thinking “so what?” In some cases, it’s because the writer used a creative, narrative lede. When that happens, the writer it must couple the lede with the “nut graph.” The nut graph immediately follows the lede. It can be one sentence or a whole paragraph.
Quote on Nut Graph “At their most basic, these simply literary devices tell readers why news and feature stories are relevant to them…They can answer any questions raised in leads, explain why stories are significant and place stories in meaningful contexts. They help writers organize their own material…” -Jack Hart, The Oregonian
Why Use a Nut GraphP Nut graphs… answers the “so what” by providing the why and how tells why the reader should care, how it could affect the reader gives details or supporting material after the lede ties a creative lede to the point of the story
Example 1 LEDE A water balloon fight broke out Friday in Mr. White’s journalism class. NUT GRAPH The fight erupted one day after Mr. White called his students idiots for not knowing how to write a nut graph. Apparently, they wanted revenge.
Example 2 LEDE: Police in Orange City ordered all people to remain indoors Thursday after a University High School student was eaten by a giant earthworm. NUT GRAPH: “We don’t want it to happen to another student,” said Orange City Police Department chief O.M. Gawd.
Some History In the early 1900s, journalists wrote with a lot of creativity. They used big words and flowerly language. And they didn’t put the most important details first. Early newspaper stories featured multiple headlines. Some stories had 5-8 headlines. As society began to change, people wanted their news faster and a simpler, easier-to-read format. Newspaper editors decided to use only one or two headlines per story. The rest of the important details went into the first part of the story in a new format called inverted pyramid style.
Inverted Pyramid: Advantages 1. Offers quick reading 2. Features less repetition 3. Offers easier editing (easier to cut and paste) 4. Offers faster headline preparation 5. Easier to add to a story (as well as cut it) 6. Allows for faster writing of a story (can do it in your head, from a phone booth even) 7. Offers a quick organizing tool
Inverted Pyramid: Disadvantages This style doesn’t always encourage readers to continue to the end of a story because the important elements come first. It’s backward; you give away the “punchline” at the top. Can be somewhat formulaic; it gives more value to substance rather than style. There’s less allowance for creativity.
A short exercise These paragraphs from an inverted pyramid story are out of order. Spend a few minutes thinking about how you’d arrange them to tell the story in the best way. A. David Bailey, homeland security division chief for the Austin Fire Department, said nine workers from the mailroom where the letter was processed were quarantined until tests could determine whether the powder was toxic. B. The mailroom is in the State Insurance Building. C. Gov. Rick Perry's office said the letter came from a prison inmate but provided no other details. The substance was sent to the Texas Department of State Health Services for testing. D. Bailey said none of the workers became ill. E. Authorities evacuated a state office building on Wednesday after a suspicious powder was found in a letter sent to the governor's office.
How it ran (e, a, c, d, b) AUSTIN — Authorities evacuated a state office building on Wednesday after a suspicious powder was found in a letter sent to the governor's office. David Bailey, homeland security division chief for the Austin Fire Department, said nine workers from the mailroom where the letter was processed were quarantined until tests could determine whether the powder was toxic. Gov. Rick Perry's office said the letter came from a prison inmate but provided no other details. The substance was sent to the Texas Department of State Health Services for testing. Bailey said none of the workers became ill. The mailroom is in the State Insurance Building.
Ending a Story The end of the story provides a stopping point; not a conclusion. It also doesn’t summarize what’s already been said. There are many ways to end a story. Here are a few: a quote that summarizes the whole story a sentence or two that tells what’s next Remember that the editor cuts from the end of the story. So the end might be gone. You’d better let the editor know if the end is really important. Perhaps he’ll save the end and cut out something from the middle.
Your Turn Use scissors to cut out the paragraphs, which have been mixed up. Then paste each paragraph onto two sheets of copy paper in the order that you think works best to tell the story. When you finish, staple the two sheets together, put your name, the date and period number on the sheets and turn in your finished work.