By Shannon Corrigan
In the New York Times story of the fake portrait of Abraham Lincoln's wife, the reporter did an exceptional job of developing the story to maintain the reader's interest. The reporter ordered the story by starting with a descriptive lead summarizing the incident. Following the lead, further background information is provided to develop the story. This particular story has interesting background information, of which the reporter took advantage. Since this story isn't a hard-breaking news story, the author had the ability to sensationalize it and engage the reader.
By following the lead with the statement, "The story behind the picture was compelling...," the reporter engaged the reader in the mystery behind the fake painting. After elaborating on the "compelling" background information, the reporter introduces the culprit behind the scam. The reporter then introduces another person who is believed to have altered the painting, and fabricated a story to correlate. As the story continues, the author provides more information behind the painting while keeping the reader's attention.
Each fact block provides the reader with an understanding of the painting's interesting history. By starting with the descriptive lead and following with a sensational introduction to the background information, the reader becomes engaged in the story. Each fact block following provides further information. This was an effective way of developing the story.