Writing for Readers With Short Attention Spans
"Editors at many newspapers and magazines welcome list articles because these features can be expanded or reduced as space allows. More important, list articles make great cover lines that motivate readers to buy magazines. 'When we put lists on the cover, our newsstand sales go up,' said Men's Health editor David Zinczenko in a televised interview about the power of lists. In his blog, Zinczenko offers lists that inform readers on timely topics: the six worst foods to eat at the movies, the eight ultimate flat-belly summer foods and the six things your dad wants for father's day. 'Lists are perfect for guys with short attention spans,' jokes Zinczenko.' . . .
"List articles usually follow a two-part formula. First, you need an introductory paragraph that sets up the article by explaining the purpose of the list. Since these articles are straightforward, the introduction should be brief and to the point. Second the list is presented in either a bulleted or a numbered format. . . .
"Although list articles seem simple to write, most of them require research."
(David E. Sumner and Holly G. Miller, Feature and Magazine Writing: Action, Angle and Anecdotes, 2nd ed. Blackwell, 2009)
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