Writing the Inverted Pyramid

Writing the Inverted Pyramid

Traditional journalism writing uses the so-called “inverted pyramid” format. Basically, that means starting off (i.e., your “lead”) with the most important information, and putting the less important stuff farther down the page. In fact, the best way to get yelled at by an editor is to “bury the lead,” i.e., not leading off with the most important information.

OK, you may be thinking, that’s fine for the New York Times and NBC News. But this is the era of Web sites, IMs and blogs. Is the inverted pyramid still relevant? Does it even matter anymore? Marketing guy Dean Froslie says yes:

“Gurus like Jakob Nielsen and Debbie Weil suggest using an inverted pyramid style for online content. Since web users scan for information, it makes sense to lead with your most important information.”

I agree — usually. But if you can pull it off, having a beginning, middle and ending is a pretty good way to tell a story, too. Just ask Paul Harvey, who uses them all the time in his radio broadcasts.

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