Blog Archives

Warning signs that context is missing

A close cousin to background in a story is context. Together, they might account for no more than two paragraphs or so in a story. They are powerful in their presence and conspicuous in their absence. Here are some warning signs that context or background is missing. Uncertainty over the answer to any of the […]

Japan blackouts lead to cosmic element

Getting “cosmic” with a story is a way to define a story’s place in a bigger context, whether it is locally, regionally, nationally or globally. This concept is sometimes confused with the nut graph, but it is something different entirely. The reason we bring up the cosmic element now is that The New York Times […]

Keep readers up to date: Video

We always try to remember that every reader or viewer is not as up to date on our blog posts as we might be. The same is true of stories and developments that you might be covering. Help your audience by reminding them how you got to where you are today on a story. The […]

Put large numbers in context

We have brought up this topic before — how context and background can greatly benefit the telling of a story. Writers and editors learn to keep this top of mind when gathering, writing and editing content. A story in today’s New York Times about the devastating effects of the flooding in Pakistan is a good […]

Context essential in any story

As I was reading the latest news today about the conflict between North Korea and South Korea, I came upon a couple of paragraphs tucked in a New York Times story that added value to my understanding of the situation. The paragraphs provided: Context Background History They told me why this crisis is different from […]