The reverse pyramid had you describe the event in one sentence, then make the most important point about it in another sentence, and so on until the story was told. This let the desk snip the story off at any point and still have its essence, which would be laid down into print.
What I preferred and practice was the magazine style of a circular story. You hit them with a hard lead paragraph, to grab the reader and draw them in. You walk around the story, describing it from every angle. Then you deliver a tag ending, a thank you for reading that puts the whole thing into context. You ensnare the reader, but you also satisfy them.
Today everything is written in a different style. I call it “yeah, but…watch out.”
In this style every sentence, starting with the first, includes a contrary thesis. That is, unless it’s bad news, in which case you pile more on top like whipped cream on a sundae.
There can be no good news, only bad news that hasn’t happened yet. The purpose is to avoid controversy, to always accept the legitimacy of a contrary view. This means there are no facts. It means readers are never satisfied, which means they’ll keep reading. News sites don’t feed readers anymore, they keep them hungry, hoping for more clicks.
The word news is an acronym. North. East. West. South. It’s about bringing what’s distant in. It’s about making the unfamiliar familiar. It’s about relating to what’s different, or scary. It’s about relieving anxiety.
But when every news story includes its opposite, when every news story is meant to anger, scare, or titillate, it’s not doing that job. It’s an advertisement.
It’s because news itself has no economic value. Once a story is reported, everyone else can report it, and will. They will spin it, tweak it, contradict it, and poke holes in it. The new style of writing seeks to join in by acknowledging the possibility of contradiction.
But what it really means is that nothing is relatable, and nothing is ever true. As journalism, as news, it’s malpractice.