Tuesday, August 22, 2006
A different route
The inverted pyramid form of newswriting, though still useful, is often tired. Here's an example in a story about delays in a road project in Durham, N.C. This is the lead:

DURHAM — Durham residents looking forward to the long-anticipated completion of Durham's Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway will have to wait just a little longer.

In addition to using "Durham" too often, the lead is a wordy tease. How much longer? The story gets around to answering that question three paragraphs later:

Officials said Monday the project should finally be complete by next month.

This pyramid isn't inverted well. But rather than structuring this story that way, why not present it as a Q&A? Start with an introductory paragraph and then provide the answers to the questions that readers are asking:
  • Why is the road delayed?
  • How long has it taken to build?
  • When will it open?
  • Who's doing the work?
  • How much will to cost?
A map would help, too.
posted by Andy Bechtel at 12:29 PM | Permalink |