Write a nut graph that doesn’t slow the story’s flow
Don’t let your nut graph become the pig in the snake, counsels Jacqui Banaszynski:
“I like the nut graph,” says the Knight Chair in Editing at the Missouri School of Journalism and visiting faculty member of The Poynter Institute. “Readers need a frame around the picture. But sometimes the nut graph sticks out like a pig going through a snake. The nut graph doesn’t have to be a paragraph. Instead, it can be one elegant line that foreshadows the rest of the story.”
Roy Peter Clark, vice president and senior scholar of The Poynter Institute, agrees:
“The ‘nut’ is supposed to signify the hard kernel of the story, what is at the center. But it’s a clumsy metaphor, because it suggests there is a shell that has to be cracked to get to it.”
That’s no fun for the reader, writes Kate Long, a writing coach for The Charleston Gazette:
“You’re eating this nice brownie, and suddenly you hit a chunk of dry flour.”
To keep your reader from choking on your nut graph, write a short, graceful summary that’s in keeping with the tone and style of the rest of your piece.