Beyond the Inverted Pyramid: Creating Alternative Story Forms

Course Overview

Beyond the Inverted Pyramid: Creating Alternative Story Forms
Self-Directed Course
Time Estimate:
This course takes about an hour to complete.

About Self-Directed Courses

In a self-directed course, you can start and stop whenever you like, progressing entirely at your own pace and going back as many times as you want to review the material.

Since readers seem to have less and less time to read, you need to help them get the information they need. You'll learn how to select, write, edit and present a variety of alternative forms through various interactive games and activities.
What Will I Learn:

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Break down information by theme and organize stories to make them snappy and more useful to time-crunched readers
  • Focus on the importance of newsroom collaboration
  • Understand the difference and range of supplemental and standalone forms
  • Demonstrate what forms work best with what story ideas
Who should take this course:

Writers, reporters, editors and designers who are looking for new ways to make information more useful to readers who are pressed for time.

Course Instructor:

Andy Bechtel

Andy Bechtel teaches editing and writing at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill. He has about a dozen years of experience as a copy editor at North Carolina newspapers. While on the faculty at UNC, he worked for a summer at the Los Angeles Times website, calling himself “the 40-year-old intern.” Bechtel blogs about editing, headline writing and social media at

Bechtel has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the American Copy Editors Society, and he is the author of a NewsU course on alternative story forms.

Technical Requirements:

For this course you will need to have at least version 8.0 of the Flash plugin installed. For the best experience, we suggest that:

  • PC users use Internet Explorer or Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox
  • Mac users use Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox or Safari
  • You set your monitor resolution to 1024 x 768 or higher
  • You use a high-speed connection
  • Senior Producer/Programmer: Casey Frechette
  • Assistant Producer/Programmers: Jennifer Dronkers, Nuria Peña, Leslie Passante
  • Graphic Design: Jen Wallace
  • Editor: Vicki Krueger
  • Executive Producer: Howard Finberg