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Beyond the Inverted Pyramid: Creating Alternative Story Forms

About This Course

Alternative story forms, ASFs, ALTs, storytelling devices — they go by different names and include everything but stories written in the traditional text-plus-headline format. This course will introduce you to the world of alternative story forms and show you how to add them to your writing, editing or designing repertoire.

"Beyond the Inverted Pyramid" will teach you how to break down information by theme and organize stories to make them snappy and more useful to time-crunched readers. With a focus on the importance of newsroom collaboration, this course showcases a range of supplemental and standalone forms, demonstrates what forms work best with what story ideas and provides techniques for editing alternative forms for factual errors and other problematic copy.

Since readers seem to have less and less time to read, you need to help them get the information they need. You'll learn how to select, write, edit and present a variety of alternative forms through various interactive games and activities.

What Will I Learn?

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Break down information by theme
  • Organize stories to make them snappy and more useful to time-crunched readers
  • Focus on the importance of newsroom collaboration
  • Understand the range of supplemental and standalone forms and the differences between them
  • Identify which forms work best with which story ideas

Who Should Take This Course?

This course is for writers, reporters, editors and designers who are looking for new ways to make information more useful to readers who are pressed for time.

Course Instructor

Andie Bechtel

Andy Bechtel

Andy Bechtel teaches editing and writing at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill. He has about a dozen years of experience as a copy editor at North Carolina newspapers.


The Knight Foundation

The Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote community engagement and lead to transformational change.

This $30 course is free thanks to the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. Course Number

    Self-directed course
  2. Classes Start

  3. Estimated Effort

    3 to 4 hours