The thing I found interesting during class was the ways of organizing stories and the common “shapes” used to help visualize it. These shapes [The Inverted Pyramid, The Martini Glass, and The Kabob] contribute to specific types of story. In the case of the Inverted Pyramid, it is the most basic model and is commonly used for news briefs and stories about breaking news events. On the downside, it cannot be used for anything else. How the Inverted Pyramid works is by starting with the story’s most important facts, followed by other key facts, and finishing with minor details until the writer runs out of interesting things to say. The Martini Glass (also known as The Hourglass) is best for crimes, disasters or other dramatic news stories where the readers will want a chronological understanding of what had occurred. It works by having an eye-catching lead, followed by key facts (in the form of the Inverted Pyramid), the chronological order of events, and the “kicker” (surprise twist or strong closing quote). Lastly, the Kabob, also known as “the Wall Street Journal formula or the Circle,” is best for stories that have a trend and explains how it affects or involves actual people. It starts with the anecdote (a short interesting quote or fact about a specific person), a nut graf (a paragraph explaining the value of the story), the “meat” or important information, and closing with another anecdote (Harrower, pg. 50).
In our class and in our labs, these methods are useful because they act as a mnemonic device. Mnemonic devices, such as a picture, are used to help people remember things easier. In this case, the device will help us understand what format to use for a specific story. Currently, we are working on writing our Job Shadow Projects, where we have to shadow a person for at least four hours of their work day and write about it. For this project, I think I will be focusing on the Kabob method because I am focusing on an actual person and will be discussing things that occur throughout their day. Without learning the types of formats in class, I would be very confused on how to work on the project and for that reason, I think it is important to learn about them in class.
Harrower, Tim. Inside reporting: a practical guide to the craft of Journalism. Third ed., McGraw-Hill, 2013.