Nut grafs

Here are my two best and worst nut grafs that I’ve read recently:

Best: 

In India, the world’s largest democracy, some see system as a handicap

Although the nut graf doesn’t hit quite immediately in this story (which I think is about the corruption of politicians, which is stated a few paragraphs down), I think this story, essentially, serves as a nut graf for a very complex problem. I actually had a tough time figuring out which graf was actually the nut graf. Perhaps that’s a failure of the article, but I think it’s actually a benefit, because I think the reporter was very good at being very concise at addressing a pretty weighty and potentially long-winded issue. The grafs were very easy to read and I got the general sense of what was going on very early on. It wasn’t an intimidating article, yet it still addressed the issue intelligently and in a complex enough manner.

Worst:

Data Hint at Hypothetical Particle, Key to Mass in the Universe

When I first read this article, I was really interested. But that’s really because I know a lot about the Higgs boson, an elusive theory of physics steeped in mystery and intrigue — oh wait, but the average person might not know about the Higgs boson. I only know about it, really, because of a high school friend who was interested in astrophysics, who described it to me. So, I’m reading about how the Higgs boson may be finally discovered, or on its way to being discovered (which is actually a really big deal for the physics community), but then I think about it and I’m like, “Wait, if I were an average reader, why would I care?” I read it because I knew about it and wanted to see the development. The problem with the article is that the nut graf doesn’t hit until about 7 grafs down, which is probably way too far for such a scientific piece. (Don’t get me wrong. I love science journalism, but you’ve gotta throw the gist out to me if you want me to keep reading.) Maybe this is part of a beat or from someone who clearly knows more about the Higgs boson that your average joe, but I don’t think that negates the need for a nut graf. I understand not thinking about this all the time, because I’m guilty of it. But after listening to our nut graf lecture, I think the nut graf still remains an integral part of story. 

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