Beyond the Inverted Pyramid: Creating Alternative Story Forms

Course Overview

Title:
Beyond the Inverted Pyramid: Creating Alternative Story Forms
Type:
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.

Alternative story forms, ASFs, ALTs, storytelling devices — they go by different names and include everything but stories written in the traditional inverted pyramid style. This course will introduce you to the world of alternative story forms and show you how to add them to your writing, editing or designing repertoire.

"Beyond the Inverted Pyramid" will teach you how to break down information by theme and organize stories to make them snappy and more useful to time-crunched readers. With a focus on the importance of newsroom collaboration, this course showcases a range of supplemental and standalone forms, demonstrates what forms work best with what story ideas and provides techniques for editing alternative forms for factual errors and other problematic copy.

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 editdesk.wordpress.com.

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