Ranked Lists: Ranking Logic
Part 7 of Playbook: The Basics of Writing for Bleacher Report. Click here for more information and to download all of Playbook for free.
The Ranked List is the third of the three article types Bleacher Report evaluators consider. Just as the story angle plays a crucial role in News Reports and the thesis does the same for Argumentative Articles, Ranking Logic is at the center of the universe of the Ranked List.
If you’re going to rank something, the first question you have to answer is “Based on what?” Surely you’ve experienced this in conversation, when a friend asks you, say, who the five greatest quarterbacks or shortstops are and you respond not with a list of shortstops or quarterbacks but with questions: “Best defensive shortstop or overall?” “Best passer or greatest team leader?” And so on.
In a Bleacher Report Ranked List, the criteria used to rank the elements in the list should be laid out explicitly within the first two slides in a slideshow, or within the first 100 words in a standard article. The criteria should be announced all together and in their entirety.
Once laid out, those ranking criteria must be logical. The test for that: If the criteria were fulfilled, would that result in ideal candidates at the top of the list? If your criteria for greatest quarterback is most yards per game in a career, you end up with Matthew Stafford at No. 1, Carson Palmer at No. 10 and Joe Montana at No. 32. Would that pass the sniff test for you?
Lastly, the ranking criteria should be referenced effectively in the presentation of each item on the list. An effective criteria reference is one that tells explicitly and accurately how the candidate fulfills or falls short of one or more of the requirements.
Here are some examples of Ranked Lists with good Ranking Logic:
The 10 Coolest Manchester United Players in the Premier League Era: Obviously, the topic is entirely subjective, but writer Mark Tidey spends five paragraphs laying out the factors that weigh most heavily in his thinking. The goal is to give readers something to think and talk about as they read the article.
Ranking the Top 10 NASCAR Drivers of the 1990s by Paul Carreau: “A drivers win total, number of top-10 finishes, championships and overall consistency must all be taken into account when evaluating their decade-long success.”
Ranking the Top 25 Players in Denver Nuggets History by Nick Juskewycz: The author carefully lays out the factors he considered, which boil down to personal and team production, time spent in Denver and awards and honors.
Next post: Ranked Lists: Topic, List Composition
Previous post: Argumentative Articles: Thesis, Rhetorical Structure, Factual Evidence
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Playbook: The Basics of Writing for Bleacher Report Writers is an 18-part series outlining the metrics and criteria of B/R’s objective Writer Evaluation system. The system complements the subjective assessments made by members of our Editorial Team, which means that a solid evaluation is a necessary but not sufficient condition of success with B/R. You can find more information and download the full Playbook for free at this link.
Playbook Table of Contents:
Three story types
News Report Story Angle
News Report Narrative Structure, Information Aggregation
Argumentative Articles: Thesis, Rhetorical Structure, Factual Evidence
Ranked Lists: Ranking Logic
Ranked Lists: Topic, List Composition
Attribution and Hyperlinks
Sentence and Paragraph Structure
B/R Style and Formatting
Common Mistakes: General
Common Mistakes: Three Article Types