The power of an image


    The NY Times

It’s 1953 and you’re the anony­mous NY Times cor­re­spon­dent who’s detailed to report the dis­cov­ery by James Wat­son and Frank Crick of the dou­ble-heli­cal struc­ture of DNA. You have a hun­dred words to ‘grab’ the read­er, name the dis­cov­er­ers, con­vey the impor­tance of their dis­cov­ery and tie the sto­ry some­how to the US con­tri­bu­tion. Try it … It’s not easy. Here’s real craft: the first three para­graphs of the NY Times sto­ry on June 12, 1953 (click on the thumb­nail). The arti­cle does even­tu­al­ly use the ‘spr­i­al stair­case’ metaphor that has become a cliché. But at first it uses a metaphor that now seems even more surprising—and apt. The full arti­cle (as a .pdf file) is “available”:http://www.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/science/dna-article.pdf from the NY Times.

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