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Inverted Pyramid

In journalism, the inverted pyramid refers to a story structure where the most important information (or what might even be considered the conclusion) is presented first. The who, what, when, where and why appear at the start of a story, followed by supporting details and background information.

An inverted pyramid structure means that the most important information is placed first, less important information is placed in the middle, and the least important information is placed last.

This writing style is different than, for example, academic writing, where an abstract may summarize the main findings, but the content typically focuses first on the details, leading to the conclusion which appears at the end of the article. The name “inverted pyramid” comes from picturing the broad facts at the top of the story, followed by smaller and smaller details, like a triangle balanced on one corner.

The writing style can be depicted as a triangle balanced on a single point, representing the fact that content goes from the broadest facts to the smaller details.

This writing style gets to the point quickly and supports all types of readers. Even those who have the time or inclination to read only a single paragraph, or even single sentence will still know what the story is about. The inverted pyramid also helps editors when they need to cut a piece at a certain length to fit a publication: if the paragraphs get less and less important as you advance in the article, the article can easily be trimmed at practically any point.

Instructions for the Quiz

Answer the questions.