Print journalism has long embraced the inverted pyramid, that writing style which emerged in the latter part of the 19th century. While still a popular option, other styles are moving in to share the space at the front of the daily newspaper. This paper will present the findings of a pilot study of narrative writing in two Australian daily papers. Over a period of one month during April-May 2007, the style of news in the front pages of The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald was analysed to determine how much were written in the inverted pyramid and how much were in narrative format or a mix of styles. The research also examines The Australian’s ‘Inside Story’ a regular feature which includes elements of literary journalism, bringing together a strong narrative style with a serious investigation in the news pages of the weekend, and occasionally weekday, paper. This analysis features insights from the writers, editors and creators of ‘Inside Story’, which has been running for almost a decade. Finally, the paper provides a brief overview of some undergraduate journalism and media text books in Australia to determine the dominant paradigms in university journalism curriculum and how these might have changed in recent years. It suggests why narrative news might be a popular option for the future as newspapers are repositioned within the expanding sea of media options.
Recommended CitationJohnston, J., Turning the inverted pyramid upside down: how Australian print media is learning to love the narrative, Asia Pacific Media Educator, 18, 2007, 1-15.