Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Inverted Pyramid: What it looks in the news

Usually when writing stories, the writers build suspense then get to the main point, like a traditional pyramid. However, in newspapers covering hard news, it's important to get straight to the point then add in descriptive details later so readers can get the most out of the each story. This kind of writing style is called the inverted pyramid, where the most important information goes first, then details and end with the remaining facts.

One good example of this is a story in the New York Times called "For Stocks, Worst Single Day Drop in Two Decades". The summary lead of this story gets right to the point: "But by the time that bell sounded again on the New York Stock Exchange, six and a half frantic hours later, $1.2 trillion had vanished from the United States stock market.". The reader gets the most important information first about the story, then can read to to learn more such as, this is biggest decline since World War 2 and how the decline effected other nations. The story concludes with about the Dow losing another 200 points and then an announcement Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr.

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