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Rewrite a news story lead writing exercise


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This is a writing exercise used in my Writing Across Platforms class which teaches communication students to write a range of promotional content for print and the web. This assignment helps them work on writing leads by asking them to take an existing news story and re-write the headline and lead to focus on the most interesting part.

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Rewrite a news story lead writing exercise

  1. 1. Matthew J. Kushin, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Communication Shepherd University FFiinnddiinngg tthhee MMoosstt IInntteerreessttiinngg AAnnggllee ooff aa NNeewwss SSttoorryy Writing Across Platforms Summary Due Date End of class. How to turn it in Post it on your class blog. Instructions The assignment is simple: Use one of the following sources to find an existing news story (that can be hard news, or entertainment news, or sports news. But don’t pick an opinion piece or editorial):,,,,, To do: Read the story and find most interesting part of the story. Why? ▪ Sometimes people fail to highlight the most interesting part of the story. ▪ When writing for the web, you need to get people’s attention with the most interesting part of the story. ▪ Sometimes, reporters will ‘bury the lead’ – meaning, fail to highlight the most important part of the story. Your Task: Pick the news story. On your writing blog: 1) Copy and paste the headline and the lead paragraph of this story. 2) Draw a line under that. Ex: ----------------- Below that line: 3) Re-write the headline and the lead paragraph of the story, using your own words. Make it about the most interesting part of the story. 4) Below that, in a brief paragraph, explain what you think the original author missed in the lead they wrote, why you think they started the article how they did, and why you made the choice you did to write the headline and lead the way you chose to. Be sure to publish the post so it can be graded! Tips: If the article you pick is already about the most interesting thing, then pick another one. How do you know what is the most interesting thing? 1) Figure out what is most interesting to you about the story. a. It doesn’t mean it is the most newsworthy, per se. It is the most interesting. The most unique. 2) Market-test – ask your classmates to read the article and tell you what’s the most interesting part. Ask your classmates to see which they think is more interesting, the original lead or the lead you wrote.