TOW #4: NewsU – The Leading Lab


How to Write a Lead:

  • Look for the tension in the lead.
  • Chose the more fitting lead for your story.

Exploding the Myths of Lead Writing:

  • Leads must never begin with quotes.
  • Leads must always contain attribution.
  • A good lead is never more than three or four lines long.
  • A lead must sum up the story in a paragraph.

Types of Leads:

  • Direct – “tell me the news,” focus on breaking developments, summarize story in single paragraph
    • Tell Me the News Leads:
      • Summary – 5 W’s and H
      • Analysis – analyze the events and issues of the day
  •  Delayed – “I know the news, now tell me a story,” wanting to know the details of the story after you have already heard that something happened.

Tell Me a Story Leads:

  • Anecdotal – storytelling lead, begins with a compressed story that illustrates the story’s theme or situation
  • Significant Detail – significant or interesting detail
  • Emblem – using a single instance or individual to illustrate something emblematic of the subject or theme of a story
  • Round-Up – round up anecdotes, illustrations or examples to demonstrate a trend

The Elements of Effective Lead Writing:

  • The 5 W’s, and H, and SW

Revising Your Lead:

  • Cutting and moving and pasting, asking tough questions, searching for the right word
  • Think of the lead as a piece of clay that you can play with and refine
  • Tips:
    • Follow the “read aloud” rule
    • Play the revision game
    • Remember the basics
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Filed under PRCA 3330, TOW

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