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Raleigh is a quiet community nestled in farmland just east of Williston. Residents enjoy the solitude and keep to themselves. No one suspected that last week all that would change by the apparent abduction of a child and her pony by what authorities are calling an “alien life form.”
Got your attention? If I read that in my hometown paper, you can bet your bottom dollar I’d continue reading.
However, recent studies show that the average newspaper reader doesn’t make it past the third paragraph unless it is something so gripping, so moving that they can’t put the paper down.
Iee^dare say if that first paragraph were on the front page of the Williston Pioneer, not only would we sell out that week, but people would be clamoring for more and more and more for weeks to come.
But what makes a story interesting? Is it the subject matter? Personally, any story that is bogged down in numbers and science is painful–almost like getting two root canals in the same sitting. But yet I know many who not only enjoy stories on budgets but also delight in poring over their own spreadsheets just to make sure the reporter’s math adds up.
Is it the writing? Can someone be drawn into a rather bleak ordinary police report by the spin in the first paragraph?
Is it the way the story is presented with photos and graphics to enhance the written word or do those things make people skip the writing just to get the gist from the art?
Writers–not only newspaper people–have a difficult task before them as they struggle to make their ideas and messages interesting to appeal to the greatest number of people. Just ask any wannabe novelist who has been rejected 80 or 90 times.
So what keeps you reading? Send me an e-mail.
Oh, and by the way, Raleigh is still a quiet community and the child and her pony are just fine, thank you.
E-mail Carolyn Risner at email@example.com.