chapter  9
31 Pages

Finding the Right Structure for the Story

ByMatthew Ricketson, Caroline Graham

Most journalists enjoy researching feature stories. They meet interesting and famous people, they learn new things, they get out of the office. Most commonly used for news features, the state of play or round-up is a meat-and-two-veg story structure aimed at clearly setting out an issue. They are a staple of weekend newspapers and news magazines. Saroo Munshi Khan Hansel and Gretel reference to breadcrumbs is a fitting one for the way David Kushner tells his story, which has all the linguistic simplicity of a fairytale, and borrows many of its literary devices, including a simple chronological structure. The narratives of journalism, like those of mythology and folklore, derive their power from their firm, undeviating sympathies and antipathies. Cinderella must remain good and the stepsisters bad. Thematic structures can work powerfully, as Tom Wolfe showed in much of his journalism.