Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Wall Street Journal Formula

When writing a feature story, journalist often use the Wall Street Journal Formula. The layout for a feature story utilizing this technique will include:

1) An opening of the story with an anecdotal, narrative, or descriptive lead.
2) A nut graph to follow, explaining the lead
3)The body of the story with supportive details
4)The conclusion including another anecdotal or description of those featured in the story

In the New York Times article "Young Singers Await Their Big Moment at the Met," writer Vincent M. Mallozzi uses the Wall Street Journal Formula to tell the story of budding opera singers auditioning for the chance to perform at the Met.

Mallozzi's lead: "Nadine Sierra and Anthony Ross Costanzo spent Wednesday afternoon in separate rehearsal rooms at the Metropolitan Opera. They are not part of the opera, but they hope to be one day."

The nut graph in first couple of paragraphs explains the lead and gives insight into the personal experience of the two singers.

The body paragraphs explain the audition and selection process of twenty-something singers for their chance of a lifetime. This is the where the story is developed with facts and quotes.

Mallozzi concludes with a quote from Anthony Ross Constanzo, explaining his perspective on the opportunity.

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