With apologies to Jane Austen: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a true story in possession of ambition must be in want of a nut graph. The nut graph, for those who have never had to write, rewrite and rewrite one again, is the paragraph whose job is to anchor a story, explaining to readers what the story is about, why it matters, the context in which it occurs, and why, as a result, they will want to read it. Nut graphs serve a useful purpose in that without them stories can feel like they are floating. Nut graphs also force writers to do what so many struggle to do: commit. To say, with clarity and certainty,
At NY Newsday, where I interned in the late 80s, they called the nut graf the "who-ha" for some reason. 😂
Imagine if different news outlets in their nut graphs present varying narratives on how a piece of news regarding an international crisis relates to people's lives!
I am writing my thesis on nut graphs at the University of Gothenburg, it is so exciting!
I need to interview journalists, email me if interested.
Not if they are written in the tone and tempo of the whole of the narrative. A long ago magazine editor of mine called them “arias” and he sits on my shoulder every time I write one