Bright Points and Nut Graphs

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"To strengthen structure, writers take advantage of chronology and other narrative opportunities; reward the reader with bright points throughout the story; and make sure the reader arrives at a natural ending rather than a contrived one" (Clark and Scanlan 294).

 In "Expected Loss of Profits Rankles Business Owners", although there was a lot of negativity expressed from business owners towards the G-20 summit being hosted in Pittsburgh, the reporter did allow some room for some notable bright spots for the reader. Postive quotes and information was gained from Holly Geitner who didn't nessarily dismiss the fact that business owners may lose profit, but suggested some business that may not suffer so much during the two day conference. Also, positive quotations were taken from an optometrist's office worker and from the owner of a pizza restruarant. As a reader, even if it is a fact that the businesses will be suffering because of the summit, had the whole article been completely negative about the issue I would have stopped reading. Even in the beginning of the article the tone of it was leaning towards the over-the-top negative side. However, by counteracting it with some positve quoations helped to "brighten" up the tone. Also, by having quoations from people who had differing opinions of the topic helped to create a wider and more informed perspective of the situation. Once again, had the negativity taken control of the article, the perspective would have been completely one sided, possibly revealing what the reporters own opinions were.

Several of the articles, such as "Cap on Bonuses Inflates PNC Pay" and "CIA Target of Torture Probe" were examples of articles that used "nut graphs" (at least I think they were, let me know if I'm wrong about this). As Clark and Scanlan mention, "If it is not in the first paragraph, it will appear in the 'nut' paragraph near the top of the story. The nut graph explains to readers why they should bother reading the story" (291). What is making me second guess whether these are actual examples of this point is that in the CIA artcile, the main news is written in the first sentence. Also, the paragraph above it is very short and basically repeats what is mentioned in the first sentence. I thought the "nut graph" was supposed to be used when the main news isn't mentioned in the first sentence and/or first paragraph.

 

Go back to class!

4 Comments

Jeanine O'Neal said:

Honestly, I'm not sure what they meant about nut graphs either. I understand that it is supposed to tell you why you should read it, but I don't think news articles actually do that. Instead, they just give really interesting details that are supposed to make you want to keep reading. So maybe those details are the nut graph. But I have never read a paper that says, "Keep reading if you want to know how many calories are in a Big Mac."

Jeanine O'Neal said:

I didn't really understand nut graphs either. I know they are supposed to be a paragraph that explains why you should read the article, but they don't actually come out and say "Keeping reading if you want to know how many calories are in a Big Mac." Instead, the rest of the article generally goes on to offer facts that might interest the reader and keep them reading. Maybe that is what a nut graph is. But I have never seen an example that matches Clark and Scanlan's definition.

Katie Vann said:

Your example made me laugh and I'm glad I'm not the only one who wasn't sure whether the Tribune Review had examples of nut graphs or not. And you made a good point in saying that none of them follow the exact definition.

Jeanine O'Neal said:

I wrote a reflection essay after reading your blog, but I never posted it anywhere. It was just floating out there somewhere in cyber-space. But here it is in case you wanted to see it.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JeanineONeal/2009/08/reflection_for_august_25_2009.html

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