News Worksheet 10: Writing a brief using the inverted pyramid

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Write a 200-word story in inverted-pyramid form based on the following set of facts.  Assume the story is for Thursday morning’s paper.


  • A female coyote was captured Thursday.
  • The coyote had been roaming the streets of Lower Manhattan in New York City.
  • A coyote captured uptown in January was set loose in Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx.
  • By law, coyotes captured in the city must be released within the five boroughs.
  • Officials at the parks department refused to say Friday where in the city they intend to release her.
  • The city wants to prevent people from harassing the 30-pound coyote in her search for a more suitable habitat, said Vickie Karp, a spokeswoman for the department.
  • “We pick the largest and most suitable natural habitat for the coyote,” said Vickie Karp, a spokeswoman for the department. “And for the sake of people, we’ll put the coyote somewhere with plenty of open space so people don’t have to say, ‘You parked him in front of my house.’”
  • The coyote is being monitored at the Animal Care and Control shelter on East 110th Street, parks officials said, adding that the animal is resting comfortably in the and they did not know when she would be released.
  • With the increase in coyote sightings in the past few years, several New York agencies have been working together to develop a plan on managing the population, said Kevin Jeffrey, a deputy parks commissioner.


Inverted pyramid checklist:


  1. Does your story begin with a solid straight news lead, one that meets all five of our criteria?
  2. Is the story free of unattributed opinion?
  3. Are the paragraphs arranged by order of importance? With background material generally relegated to the bottom?
  4. Are there adequate quotes? from clearly identified sources? Punctuated properly?
  5. Do the transitions work between each paragraph?