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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