Writing for the Web: Inverted Pyramid21. June 2012 - 16:33 — Dejan Georgievski
We already mentioned the “inverted pyramid” in our previous article. However, before we go there, we should say something about the “regular” pyramid. People in the academic community know it very well. The information in a text are listed from more general, to those which are specific to the problem of interests to the author, to the conclusion that comes last.
It is the form used to write academic and scientific papers, but also the form used by associations and organisations to write thematic reports and analytical texts.
It may not be „set in stone“ yet, but publishing on internet, and above all information portals and websites have accepted the journalistic „inverted pyramid“ which presents the information in order of importance, from most important to less important.
In a journalistic article, it means that the first would be the most newsworthy information, the news itself if you want, followed by more important and then less important details, with background information and context the last to be written. To the newspaper editors it is of great help, in view of the limited space they have to work with, meaning that they can cut the text from below, never losing the most important information.
To the readers, it means that they can stop reading at any time and freely choose not to read the whole text, without fear that they may miss on the most important information.
Furthermore, there is still the perception that internet is mostly used by people who haven't got more than 20 seconds of skipping glance to dedicate to an article.
We are not convinced that perception is actually true and we believe that we all take our reading habits from print to online media. Those who liked to pick up a weekly magazine or some literary review and read a longer text, several pages at least, continue doing it today on the internet.
If, however, that perception is true, the inverted pyramid suits perfectly those „prototypical“ internet users that just fly over the information, offering all the important data and facts on an event or development in those 20 seconds they intend to spend on the article.
The inverted pyramid is able to present first, and concisely, the most important information because of the assistance of several important questions it attempts to answer. What are those question, that is the topic of our next article.
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