Analysis: Three Killed in Shooting In Wisconsin

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In the New York Times article "Three Killed in Shooting at Spa in Wisconsin," the reporter used the inverted pyramid. Just by reading the lede, the reader knows who (three people dead, four injured), what (a shooting in Wisconsin), where (a spa in the Milwaukee suburbs), when (Sunday) and why (three people died because a gunman opened fire).

This is an effective application of the inverted pyramid. All of the important details are in the lede. If readers stopped reading after that one sentence, they would know essentially all of the critical details. The suspect's name is listed in the fifth paragraph. That is important information but since readers likely do not know the man, it does not need to be in the first paragraph.

I think the writer, Michael Schwirtz, could have had the suspect's name listed in the third paragraph. The only thing I would have done differently is moving up the suspect's name. It would have made sense in the third paragraph because he was talking about the suspect's death.

Other information, such as the fact that a different gunman had opened fire in the same suburb in 2005, is pertinent to the article but it does not need to be near the top. Schwirtz recognized this and concluded with that fact.

I think he summarized the important details effectively. He interviewed a witness but made sure to put that information after all of the important facts. The interview is important to the article but Schwirtz recognized that with an article like this, it had to be grounded in facts first.

1 Comment

Good work on your analysis, Betsy. I agree with suspect name placement. Make sure you don't do an inordinate amount of sports stories. :~)

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This page contains a single entry by helfa003 published on October 21, 2012 8:13 PM.

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