"To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible;
to be credible we must be truthful." - Edward R Murrow

Inverted Pyramid -- Nikky Raney

The "Inverted Pyramid" will always be important to journalism.

The inverted pyramid isn't just for the journalism world - the inverted pyramid can be applied to any piece of writing.

Where citizen journalists and bloggers get stuck - journalists get through just fine. Anyone can go to an event and write about it. Anyone can just sit in front of a computer screen and type away at the keyboard, add some hyperlinks, and click post - but it takes a lot more than just typing to produce something that is worth reading. A lot of what is posted on the web and marked as "news" is not WORTH reading, but it will be read anyway. Usually those posts get more criticism and aren't taken seriously, but the posts/blogs/articles/etc. that are worth reading use the inverted pyramid structure as a technique to keep the reader engaged.

The inverted pyramid was taught to me when I was 15-years-old.It may seem "old-fashioned," but the posts that I enjoy reading are the posts that follow this structure:

Okay Nikky, we get that it's important - but what IS it?

The inverted pyramid is a metaphor that journalists use to illustrate the placing of the most important information first within a text.

Anytime I write an article my first paragraph is usually ONE sentence. ONE sentence that includes "who, what, where, when, how."

When I was 15-years-old learning this made me confused, because I thought all paragraphs had to have at least three sentences. I thought introductions always needed to be long, but I realized that by keeping the introduction contained into ONE sentence that includes WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, HOW, it makes the person reading the piece more informed and more likely to continue to read on. If the person does not read on - at least the most important information was obtained.

"The inverted pyramid puts the most newsworthy information at the top, and then the remaining information follows in order of importance, with the least important at the bottom...readers can leave the story at any point and understand it, even if they don't have all the details."

So the first paragraph should be a sentence that sums up the entire piece of writing. That may seem hard if you haven't written it yet; some people wait to write their beginning paragraph (it's also called a LEAD) until the end. I always write my lead first, because even when I don't know what the whole article will look like the lead will keep me on track.

The next paragraph will usually back up the first.

The next ones usually include quotes, and other secondary research.

Then the final paragraph is usually short & sweet - it can also sum up the entire post again, but more often than not it gives a follow-up. When someone reads an entire piece of writing to the end - you wan't them to keep reading. When you end with a follow-up ending, the person is more likely to come back / check back to see the next post!

I have read through an article and wondered, "Okay what's the point?" If the point is in the beginning then there is less confusion.

Okay, so why does this matter?

People have short attention spans, and want to spend as little time as possible reading an article/story/etc. I mean, there are times when it doesn't matter how long it takes to read something, but generally the quicker the read the better (even Twitter understands with the 140-word limit).

"Many readers are impatient and want stories to get to the point immediately. In fast-breaking news situations, when events and circumstances may change rapidly, the pyramid allows the news writer to rewrite the top of the story continually, keeping it up-to-date." -- Chip Scanlan

Now, there are journalists/people who will argue that the inverted pyramid is not all that great. Those who argue against the inverted pyramid are usually the ones struggling to use it. It may sound easy, but for some it is not.

The inverted pyramid is most popularly used for newspaper articles, and it makes sense that I follow it - since I am a print/web journalist who has primarily written for newspapers. I am trying to better incorporate them into blog posts, because I have just recently been able to put my personality into my blog posts -- hell, saying "I" in posts is new to me.


I know that recently my posts are not what most expect from me, and I apologize for getting carried away. I was letting things get to my head, and that is why I retired from that topic with an objective post. I am a journalist who blogs, and I am also a blogger who reports. I hope that my Journalism 101 vlogs will be able to inspire others. Keep reading my posts at Zennie62.com - I can assure you the more experience I obtain from writing at Zennie62.com, the better prepared I will be for the world of journalism as a whole. I have had to re-evaluate the way I have been writing, and I have to remember to stay grounded. It's easy to get carried away and start to get personal with an objective piece. I am 20, and I still have time to learn, and thankfully I nip that power trip in the bud. I've moved on to bigger and better things, and The Future of Journalism is in good hands. I put my pride in-check, and I'm ready to acquaint myself with humility.

"Humility and knowledge in poor clothes excel pride and ignorance in costly attire." -- William Penn

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