Professional Technical Center

News Writing

Required for Everyone
If you are not writing a story for publication you must do these three
If you are writing a story for publication you must do these
Inverted Pyramid

The inverted pyramid is a metaphor used by journalists and other writers to illustrate the placing of the most important information first within a text.

It is a common method for writing new sstories and is widely taught to journalism students.

The "inverted"or upside-down "pyramid"can be thought of as a simple triangle with one side drawn horizontally at the top and the body pointing down.

The widest part at the top represents the most substantial, interesting, and important information the writer means to convey,illustrating that this kind of material should head the article, while the tapering lower portion illustrates that other material should follow in order of diminishing importance.

It is sometimes called a "summary news lead" style or "Bottom Line Up Front" or BLUF.

The format is valued because readers can leave the story at any point and understand it, even if they don't have all the details.

It also allows less important information at the end, where it can be removed by editors so the article can fit a fixed size - that is, it can be "cut from the bottom." This is known as the Cut Off Test.

Other styles are also used in news writing, including the "anecdotal lead," which begins the story with an eye-catching tale or anecdote rather than the central facts; and the Q&A, or question-and-answer format.

From Wikipedia:

Basic Inverted PyramidInverted p
Detailed Inverted Pyramid
Detailed Inverted Pyramid

Purdue OWL Journalistic Writing: The Inverted Pyramid Structure PDF

Site Links:
Professional Education Organization International Ch. 5 Journalism Writing
Knol, a unit of knowledge: Newswriting: Inverted Pyramid by Yvette Lessard
Last Modified on June 6, 2014