Can U Read & Rite?
Like kids who're growing up on the Internet, I have a short attention span. I want information quickly so I can move on to find more information to scan and possibly download.
The two writers above were writing for newspapers. In news stories, readers deserve the classic "inverted pyramid" format, which is scannable. The short lead paragraph describes who, what, where, when and how, enabling the reader to grasp the basics and decide whether to continue.
Subsequent short paragraphs fill in details, starting with the most important down to the least important. When an inverted-pyramid story goes out over the wires, newspaper editors can pick up as much or as little as they want, depending on the space available. Even if all but the first two paragraphs are lopped off, readers still get the guts of the story.
For the very best illustration of the inverted pyramid style of writing, check out Ken Blake's essay at: http://mtsu32.mtsu.edu:11178/171/pyramid.htm
The Wildly Undisciplined World of Digital Writing
Last Tuesday, I came across the following blurb on the mediabistro.com Web site:
Fired Blogger Blogs About New Blogging Rules
Chez Pazienza, the CNN producer fired in February for blogging without permission, was leaked the new blogging guidelines from CNN, and wrote about them on his blog (h/t). The guidelines, called CNN's "policy regarding personal writings online," include information for employees about everything from commenting in chat rooms and Facebook to iReport and Second Life.
This story was up my alley. I have 131 entries on blogs and bloggers under the main heading of Internet. Included are several stories about bloggers being fired because they pissed off their employers.
So I went to Chez Pazienza's blog-DeusExMalcontent.com ("Making a Mockery of Mockery")-to learn CNN's rules for employee bloggers. The Web page is designed in two columns. Here are Pazienza's two lead paragraphs: