miércoles, septiembre 23, 2009
Anecdotes Key To Articles Online
Reader comments can become the news
Alfredo Ascanio (askain)
Published 2009-09-22 09:45 (KST)
The average articles in big magazines today are full of anecdotes. By anecdotes, I mean any specific, short, significant story or incident.
There are, of course, exceptional articles which follow no rule. But the average story is divided into four elements.
FIRST: the all-important lead that acts like a snowplow, forcing its way into the reader’s attention, luring him into finishing the story. This should be striking, bright and, in the average story, it is an anecdote.
SECOND: immediately following the lead is the locomotive, the powerhouse of the story, corresponding in an article to a broad quick survey of what the article is going to cover yet still written compactly and colorfully.
THIRD: following the locomotive, are the string of cars. In shear number of words, these far outweigh all the rest, and form the bulk of the article. The more anecdotes and incidents, the better chances of selling the article. It should be packed with paragraphs beginning: “For instance…” or “Not long ago, a Caracas banker…” or “One June morning last year…” or “As a tall grizzled Maracaibo hog farmer put it…” But they must also be arranged locally and carefully in sequence, with one subject leading to another, by smooth transitions corresponding to the couplings between railroad cars.
FOURTH: the would be the caboose of a story, or the "kicker." This isn’t absolutely vital, but it helps round off the story neatly, for both reader and editor, and never forgets an editor is a reader, too. The ending can be another anecdote, an apt turn-of-phrase, or a repetition of something already in the article with a comment on it.
An astonishing number of magazine articles, when analyzed, fit this pattern. And, almost mechanically, nearly any mass of facts about any subject can be poured into this mold. Assuming, of course, that you’ve done your reporting carefully, and have collected enough facts, including little stories about the subjects, incidents, quotations, offbeat details, and human interest touches.
We can see an example of these principles:
It was only a few weeks ago when President Chavez visited a major Spanish bookstore located in Gran Via: La Casa del Libro. In doing so, he caused congested traffic in that important artery artery. Curiously, after the newspaper El Mundo of Madrid reviewed what happened, readers immediately began to write their comments on the story. Within minutes almost 500 short pieces on this surprise visit to had been a bolt of traffic, worse than what we see in the city of Caracas.
One of the Spaniard said: "I have had one hours standing on the Gran Via and it is incredible that the visit of a President of a Banana Republic us, the Spanish, we must accept the cost of lose all the time of world with this blockade that has caused this visit."
Another commentator wrote: "A shame! Often jam has been mounted because Mr. Gorilla Red wanted some books. If I were the Chief Security Spanish, they take the police and demand that his President return to the hotel by Metro as a worker more”.
Comments could be classified into several types:
a) the comments censured for having taken the bus lane from the Gran Via with 12 cars for an hour and without paying the fine if we turn to the living in that city;
b) comments that took that occasion to censure the President Zapatero;
c) comments applauded socialism against imperialist barbarism;
d) comments decrying the president for accompanying such person only to ensure good business.
Many commentators called the President of Venezuela the dictator of a banana republic. Others pointed out: "Tell me what you read and I'll tell you who you are."
The most frequently used word was "ashamed" and "dictatorship", but the comments were polarized, which re-ratify that Manichaeism is a unique aspect of those who believe in the digitized journals.
As noted many years ago: Revolutions have a double meaning to many people. On the one hand, they are the end of an era, and on the other hand, revolutions mark the beginning of other social policies, such the "missions" in Venezuela, that perhaps serve as a driving source of the ideals of possible changes.
While in cyberspace writers and citizen reporters can point to the truths uncovered by blogging or Tweeting, digital communications are qualified arguments and debates are organized differently.
The importance of the news of the newspaper El Mundo of Madrid could be measured by its nearly 500 comments, posted in under an hour.