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Lead writing introduction for news reporting class.

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  1. 1. LEADS By Bradley Wilson, Ph.D. ©2013
  2. 2. The lead is the beginning of the story. It serves to summarize the story (news) and to grab the reader’s attention (feature).
  3. 3. The lead is the beginning of the story. It serves to summarize the story (news) and to grab the reader’s attention (feature).
  4. 4. “I often want to start in the moment, and start with the tension up front … My concern all the time is to bring readers in, to bring them in really fast.” DeNeen L. Brown, The Washington Post “Best Newspaper Writing 1999,” Non-Deadline Writing
  5. 5. “The lead is more important because you will never get to the end if you don’t have a good lead.” Daniel Henninger, The Wall Street Journal “Best Newspaper Writing 1996,” Editorial Writing
  6. 6. “I might write the first sentence 10 different times. Take a look at it, and it’s not quite right. It’s the right thought, but it’s not the right wording. Or it’s the right wording, but it’s not the right thought.” Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times “Best Newspaper Writing 2002,” Commentary
  7. 7. “Don’t bury your lead…The hook, the thing that makes the reader interested in reading the story. Hit them with the news, the peg? Why are you writing this story? What’s it all about?” Mark Fritz, The Associated Press “Best Newspaper Writing 1995,” Deadline Writing
  8. 8. Summary Contrast Descriptive Story … DIFFERENT KINDS OF LEADS
  9. 9. Question Direct quotation Second person “Imagine this…” KINDS OF LEADSTO AVOID
  10. 10. 5W’s and H Be specific About 25 words Active verbs Summarize NEWS LEAD
  11. 11. SUMMARY LEAD JERUSALEM, Nov. 4—A right-wing Jewish extremist shot and killed Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin tonight as he departed a peace rally attended by more than 100,000 in Tel Aviv, throwing Israel’s government and the Middle East peace process into turmoil. “Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is Killed” by Barton Gellman The Washington Post, Sunday, November 5, 1995
  12. 12. SUMMARY LEAD U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was killed along with three other diplomats Wednesday in Benghazi when a rocket-propelled grenade struck their vehicle. The Washington Post, Melissa Bell, Sept. 12, 2012
  13. 13. STORY LEAD A waiter fond of poet Ralph Waldo Emerson attends morning prayers at his church, steps across the street and hijacks a school bus. Owing $15,639.39 in back taxes, wielding what he says is a bomb, Catalino Sang shields himself with disabled children. Follow my orders, he says, or I will kill the kids. “No problem, I will,” says driver Alicia Chapman, crafty and calm. “But please don’t hurt the children.” The saga of Dade County school bus No. CX-17, bound for Blue Lakes Elementary, begins. “Terror Rides a School Bus” by Gail Epstein, Frances Robles and Martin Merzer The Miami Herald, November 3, 1995
  14. 14. DESCRIPTIVE LEAD The past came to claim Aleksandras Lileikis this week. It knocked on his door on Sumner Street in Norwood, shattering his quiet present and shocking the friends and neighbors who thought they knew the man in the yellow house. It knocked on all of our doors, pointing to the genocide of more than 50 years, demanding that we hear the stories and seek the truth. “A summons from history” by Susan Trausch The Boston Globe, Sept. 23, 1994
  15. 15. DESCRIPTIVE LEAD Her weight’s gone up. Gray hairs have sprouted. She’s gotten used to flat shoes instead of heels and eggplant-shaped dresses instead of the gowns and furs she used to wear. But after a decade in prison for having her husband killed, Betty Lou Haber, closing in on 50, is still as polite and sweet sounding as ever. “There’s never a night that I go to bed and don’t say my prayers,” she said last week. “I just do the best I can.” And that’s why Albert Haber’s surviving children are worried. “A murder story” by David Finkel St. Petersburg Times, May 26, 1985
  16. 16. FIRST PERSON, CHRONOLOGY LEAD At 12:30, my husband and I were having a pleasant lunch in a restaurant. At 1:30, we were back home, sitting at the kitchen counter planning a trip to Vienna and Budapest with cherished friends. At 2:30, I was walking out of the hospital emergency room in shock, a widow, my life changed forever, beyond comprehension. “Facing the void of a life and a love lost in a moment” by Joan Beck Chicago Tribune, July 12, 1993
  17. 17. RESOURCES POYNTER.ORG “The Power of Leads” by Chip Scanlan OWL.ENGLISH.PURDUE.EDU “How to Write a Lead”