Breaking News: Pyramids Turn Upside Down in Islamabad


The Feb 2nd NY Times article, “American U.N. Official Is Abducted in Pakistan” uses the typical inverted pyramid structure that suits hard news stories everywhere. The lead concisely summarizes all the key facts–that and U.N. official was abducted and his driver killed in Quetta Monday morning–and the story then goes on to gradually add information in descending order or importance. The final paragraph, which is broad and relatively unimportant, makes this clear.

Given the critical and timely nature of the story, inverted pyramid is the only appropriate structure. Were the article to focus more on the broader issue at hand, it could expand into feature length and use a different structure, but I hardly question the author’s decision. In a story like this, far fewer transitions are used–they are instead inherent in the logical progression of information. His only apparent transition, in fact, is present in the final paragraph where he turns the issue around by saying, “At the same time…”


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