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Structuring A News Story

In The Elements of Newswriting by James Kershner, he discusses how to properly structure a news story. The style of any news article can affect how it’s read; every word placement is significant and the reader must be getting a clear and concise point from the story. It should strive to be informational and accurate above all. As a journalist, I should be structuring my story with a distinct pattern. As in the inverted pyramid model, the broad or bigger picture should start the story. Every detail or fact that comes after it will relate to that opening sentence, and less important facts should be put toward the bottom, as customary with many news articles because of editing cuts that depend on how much space is allotted on a single page. Kershner tells us that a story is essentially told backwards, but when the audience reads the main premise of the story up front, it gives them a steady context for the information they are about to take in throughout the remainder of the article.

This pattern can be applied to any basic news story. Browsing CNN’s website today led me to an article about a teen blogger in Pakistan who the Taliban had attacked because of her words against their regime. The article starts out with the opening sentence “Malala Yousufzai’s courageous blogging against the Taliban set her apart from other 14-year-old Pakistani girls.” It introduces the main point of the article and the background of the subject in a broad way, but immediately the reader knows the main focus of the story. The story then launches into details of the attack and how the Taliban sought her out and shot at a school van, injuring her. The end of the article describes Yousufzai’s heroic blog entries, showing how she had motivated a nation to speak out against the violent crimes and dictatorship of the Taliban in her country. The story had a definite pattern; it was clear and concise and saved the important details about the news event for the body of the story, just as Kershner demonstrates.

The full CNN news article can be found here:

http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/09/world/asia/pakistan-teen-activist-attack/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

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