Award-winning magazine articles tend to have these qualities

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“2. Ditch the present tense. It is finally, mercifully, out of fashion.”

I think you meant to say:
2. You have to had ditched the present tense. It was finally, mercifully, out of fashion years ago."


I must be old or something, because I enjoy the present tense.

Get off my lawn!

See how well it works? You can’t do that with past tense.


Future tense can work, though.

You will get off my lawn. Or die.


Be male.


Write no less than 6500 words.
Ditch the present tense. It is finally, mercifully, out of fashion.

Hmm. Seems like a lot of work… not sure I’m cut out for this…

In general, avoid anecdotal ledes, nut grafs, kicker quotes and foul language.



That’s the imperative mood – in English, it is a form of the present tense (but the two are not synonymous).

However, in French one does use the Past Perfect Imperative.


“I love to score goals after passing all the defenders as well as the keeper. This is not my speciality, but my habit.” (source)





Would someone with a time-travel machine please go back to the past tense and let Tina Brown know to “avoid… foul language” before she fucks up The New Yorker. Thanks in advance from the present tense.

This is sadly ignored by 99% of newspaper writers. When an article starts out with an anecdote, especially a sad one, check your wallet (the one you keep your logic in).

In fact, it seems to be such a standard practice I’m surprised to see it on this list.

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I wonder why smaller and thinner wallets are in such a demand


Isn’t this a textbook example of survivorship bias?

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If I was a writer, I would publish “cock suckers of the now, an anecdotal lede and nut graf in 6501 words” and then give it an award.

It’s actually a textbook example of not having a control group.

Without comparing winning articles vs non-winning articles their conclusions are wholly invalid. For all we know these patterns are true of all magazine articles.


This analysis is wholly incorrect. They have no control group.

You’d have to compare metrics of winning articles to metrics of non-winning articles to know what factors correlate with “winning.”

Amazingly stupid for how self-satisfied the Medium article is.

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I guess this is a kind of survivor bias, as someone else said.
While letting that sink in:

If journalists understood statistics, they wouldn’t write unfounded hyperbolic clickbait. Unfortunately, that means that their articles would gather fewer readers and very soon, they wouldn’t be journalists any more.

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