This is a classic STORY structure. Use it. 

Twelve elements structure a complete & organized story. The DD are most crucial in the news-oriented stories, but DD elements belong in all stories.

Google Doc DDoz Template is here.


The first 5 of the dozen are:

1. The Lead: Make the first sentence the NEWS. No delays. News is the newest thing that is known about the given story, presented in a package of the 5 Ws. The lead should be SHORT.

2. Second sentence/more facts: Here’s where you put the other details needed to understand the lead. We put them here to avoid overloading the lead.

3. Best Quote: Make sure it relates to the lead & the second sentence.

4. The NUTGRAF: WHY DOES THIS STORY MATTER? The NUTGRAF steps back from the immediate details to provide context/perspective. It tells how the current news fits into the larger picture. It tells what’s been happening lately or elsewhere.

5. Summary of what’s to come (SW2C): Here, the writer lays out the varying points of view, foreshadowing the details of the rest of the story. This summary is key to FAIRNESS: no one’s point of view is paramount.


Here are the rest:

6. Supporting quotes: support the point of view you transitioned with.

7. Transitions between quotes: Quotes from two people should never be back to back. A transition is needed as a bridge from one idea to another. Then follow up with the relevant quote.

8. Real-time, NARRATIVE color & anecdotes: “Color” means brief descriptions of sights, sounds, & mood. Reporters should use all their senses.

9. The Past: Is there additional history that can help the reader understand more about the subject? Has this sort of thing happened before? How is this different or similar?

10. The Future: Wind up the story by looking toward the future. What is the next step? Or if an anecdote is used up toward the top, a useful technique is to refer back to the beginning, or to the anecdote, to look to the future.

11. The Kicker: Usually a short, high-impact sentence. It may be a poignant or telling quote. It may also be a surprising bit of information that works better at the end than at the beginning.

The Full Story:

Here is the full, uninterrupted article.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.