Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Trends & Transitions

The front page of today's Mercury News has a good example of a trend/issue story, Floating an Idea for Energy Needs (if you want to view it online, just be sure to this week or else you'll need to pay to access it). It's about proposals to build new liquid natural gas (LNG) terminals off the California coast.

The story opens with an extended scene-setting lead. Notice the descriptive "telling details" in the first two paragraphs, and how the first four graphs use long, mostly complex sentences. Then comes a change of pace. The writer uses a transition word, "but," and a short sentence to get the reader's attention:
But LNG generates as much emotion as energy.

In this one short sentence, the reporter, Paul Rogers, not only gives readers a "heads up" that he's changing gears, he also introduces them to the conflict that drives this story: the state's need for more sources of energy vs. a local community's protests against these proposals.

Good technique, good story.

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