Sexual abuse in daycare centers shows a trend

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A Star Tribune story about sexual abuse in daycare centers uses a very traditional story structure, starting with the most important information first, then leading to an analysis and explanation of facts later in the story.

The writer started off with the biggest fact: that over 65 children have been sexually abused in child-care centers in Minnesota since 2007. This fact lures the readers in, then the writer elaborates, providing some examples of convicted persons over the last few years.

Then the writer revealed a pattern that an investigation by the Star Tribune discovered. In this case, the pattern was that private, in-home child-care facilities tend to put children in danger more than public institutions, because of failures in judgment.

The remainder of the story is an explanation of what authorities are planning to do to solve the problem.

This story structure is effective because the first few paragraphs provide the most important details, allowing the reader to decide if the rest of the story is worth reading or not. Because it is not a breaking news story, but an investigative one, this structure works better. If people are reading breaking news, they don't want to read a two-page story that breaks down every detail- they just want to know what happened. This type of story, however, allows the reader to feel enlightened by the end of it, because it offers an in-depth explanation of the problem.

It was clear that the writers had been researching this for several years, as they provided facts and data from many years back.

The order of the information is helpful in understanding the story. The biggest fact is placed at the very beginning, and the rest of the story breaks this fact down into parts to be explained. Starting with the big picture is helpful to keep readers from becoming overwhelmed with too much information at the start.

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This page contains a single entry by turnb060 published on October 21, 2012 2:30 PM.

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