Why We Keep Reading—and Why We Don’t


It is usually more difficult to teach students how to frame an essay—how to write effective introductory and concluding paragraphs—than how to organize and develop the body of an essay.

Likewise, models of effective framing paragraphs in academic writing are more difficult to locate than those in media writing simply because the details of some news stories demand attention even if we have no idea of what–if anything–the stories might be telling us about contemporary life.

That said, here is my nominee for the most attention-grabbing opening paragraph of a news story in 2014:

“BOSTON – A naked man fell through the ceiling of a women’s bathroom at Logan Airport on Saturday, then ran out of the restroom and viciously assaulted an elderly man while he was still in the buff and bleeding, before being arrested, state police said.”


But this headline writer seems to be taking it one…

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