Week 4 (Writing 1/3): Structure

Photo: Scott Webb /CC/ Pexels

BY RUTH BERAN

First a news quiz: https://www.thesquiz.com.au/quiz/the-squiz-quiz-26-february-2021/

The inverted pyramid

Image: Wikimedia Commons

News articles are often structured to:

      • hook you in with the headline,
      • get you to read the first few lines or paragraphs, and
      • if you want to find out more information to read further.

Think of it as front-loading the article with information.

This structure has been used in journalism for centuries (see this news article from 1865 in the New York Times).

With attention spans getting shorter and shorter, this structure is becoming even more important.

The structure is based on the inverted pyramid where the most newsworthy information is at the top: the who, what, where, when, why and how.

Then details are fleshed out in the next few paragraphs in descending order of importance.

This may sound simple, but often the tricky part is working out the order of importance for the information.

EXERCISE 1

Discuss in class how you would reorganise these paragraphs in the inverted pyramid style.

Let’s have a read of Verity Chambers’ blog post about Structuring a story

EXERCISE 2

Write a short news story using the inverted pyramid structure from a media release (200-300 words)

Try using a media release from this list, or find a media release of your own.

Reminder

This is Week 4.

In Week 7 your draft article and interview questions for Assessment 1 are due, the final is due in Week 8.

Author: veritychambers

Journalist and teacher

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