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Wednesday, November 12, 2003

PPRG Conference feedback - Top tip for today

Next in a never ending series we have my summary of some tips from Adrian Dale's
presentation on How to write stories for the press and journalistic layout. Adrian Dale is the Managing partner, Creatifica. www.creatifica.com. Training@Creatifica.com

Need to capture the essence of any message succinctly. Journalists are taught to write in a ‘V’ shape. Unlike in most education where we write in a diamond shape, starting at the beginning, developing the story and coming to a nail biting conclusion!

In journalistic style , the Headline (no more than 6-8 words for the Times, 3 words for the Sun!) grabs your attention and gives you the essence of the subject. E.g 'Shock, Horror, Probe!' The teaser pulls you in to the article and makes you want to read on. E.g 'Find out what really went on when Harry met Sally...' The stand alone summarises the article. Each paragraph amplifies or illustrates a key part of the stand alone. The paragraphs are presented in descending order of importance so that the editor can cut the last two paragraphs knowing that the essence the story will remain. Pictures break up the page, attract readers and compensate for bleak stories.

So how would you apply this at work. All standard web copy could be written in this way. Content managers could set up text boxes on screen for Headline, teaser, standalone, etc. and expect people to submit copy in this way.

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