Sunday is my big reading day because I have time to spend with longer pieces. Sometimes, it feels like a chore. Other times — yesterday, for example — it was quite the opposite, thanks to the New York Times’ cover story on Adderall abuse.
This is not a pleasant story to read but a compelling one. It tells the story of a young man who developed an ultimately fatal addiction to Adderall, with the unwitting complicity of at least one physician. Look at how compact this part of the “nut graf” is in the story:
Conversations with friends and family members and a review of detailed medical records depict an intelligent and articulate young man lying to doctor after doctor, physicians issuing hasty diagnoses, and psychiatrists continuing to prescribe medication — even increasing dosages — despite evidence of his growing addiction and psychiatric breakdown.
It performs the dual purpose of suggesting what the story is going to say AND how the reporter went about telling it. It’s an example of how a good nut graf is an act of transparency.
I’d like you to read this story and notice how it’s sourced and organized. It’s not complicated, really, because it relies heavily on chronology, which can work well when we develop a sense of what to include and what to leave out.
When you’re done reading, please post one word in the comments on this blog post that sums up what this story made you feel.