Friday, January 13, 2006

The History of Journalism's
Inverted Pyramid

"Writing from the Top Down: Pros and Cons of the Inverted Pyramid" is a great little critical history of journalism's conventional pattern of writing:

"The conventions of the inverted pyramid require the reporter to summarize the story, to get to the heart, to the point, to sum up quickly and concisely the answer to the question: What's the news?"

This can split narratives unchronologically:

"The inverted pyramid, its critics say, is the anti-story. It tells the story backward and is at odds with the storytelling tradition that features a beginning, middle, and end."

Important background information can often fall off the end of the article if there is not enough space. Despite these failings, the inverted pyramid remains the pillar of western journalism, but will this change?

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