Inverted Pyramid Style

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The inverted writing style is something that was done for traditional mass media because, often, the bottom of the story would get cut off for advertisement space. As Purdue University said, “The inverted pyramid structure also benefits editors. If an editor needs to cut an article, they can simply cut from the bottom.” This was another reason this writing style grew in popularity.

Since this was a style used or more traditional mass media journalists, I do believe that some of these styles ring true today. Perhaps, not for the advertising space and the cutting off for editorial reasons but because today’s reader won’t read an entire article. With technology shifts have come a less patient society. Our attentions spans aren’t what they used to be and this is also changing how we read the news thus changing how journalists have to report the news.

As Slate’s journalist, Farhad Manjoo, said, “I’m going to keep this brief, because you’re not going to stick around for long. I’ve already lost a bunch of you. For every 161 people who landed on this page, about 61 of you—38 percent—are already gone.” He wrote an article after going through the websites analytics, and the results were not promising. It seems that the average online viewer only looks at the headline, and will look for pictures or data in the articles that are being published. This reminded me of the inverted pyramid style because readers will look at the beginning and some look for important “middle” information and most will not finish the article because that’s where the “least important information seems to be found”. I believe this is why journalists, in today’s society, are going to have to stick to a similar writing style. It may be for different reasons, but sometimes the more technology changes, the more it stays the same.

This is a histogram showing how far people scroll through Slate

I have included the video in case anyone wants to read about the inverted pyramid style.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZvgbUoDkYU

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/735/04/

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2013/06/how_people_read_online_why_you_won_t_finish_this_article.single.html

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4 thoughts on “Inverted Pyramid Style

  1. alyssabrady April 16, 2015 / 3:27 pm

    The classic inverted pyramid style. Right now, I am in a class called News Reporting and each article we write, our professor pounds it into our head to do inverted pyramid style. I am not saying this is a bad thing though. Inverted pyramid style puts all the important information at the beginning. It is important, for journalists, to write in inverted pyramid style because if their editor wants to cut their paper in half, to save space, that is OK because they have already put the less important information at the end. It is a style of writing that I have adopted and used it quite frequently.

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    • sdomingu1117 April 26, 2015 / 1:41 am

      Now that the attention spans are shorter than ever I feel like it has a multi purpose use. I have never heard about this style until I had to research for my paper but it does seem effective for multi purpose uses.

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  2. Shane O'Donnell April 23, 2015 / 2:41 am

    Though inverted pyramid style certainly has its uses, I find that it’s an easy way to solve the problem of engaging the reader. If I’m writing a news based piece, I’m definitely going to use it, but if I’m going writing an analysis piece, or a think tank piece that is still going to go up on a news site, I’m going to avoid using the inverted pyramid style because I need the reader to stick around and read the entire article in order to fully understand the point being made.

    Just some food for thought.

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    • sdomingu1117 April 26, 2015 / 1:45 am

      I am not a journalist or a journalist major; however, when researching for my 21st century publishing report I had the opportunity to read more on this style. I enjoyed reading about it since it was an eye opener for me. Now, I see this style more than ever since I’m aware. I haven’t heard more details on the other styles but I’m interested in reading on them. Thank you for your input.

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