That is why it is often said that a lead can make or break a story. Journalism educators will tell you that summary leads are sacrosanct for breaking news stories and punch leads are to be avoided for soft features.
Chapter 6 The Lead The lead gives the reader the sense of the story to follow.
There are two basic types of leads: This lead tells the reader or listener the most important aspect of the story at once. It often is used with feature stories.
It should not exceed 35 words. It captures the essence of the event, and it cajoles the reader or listener into staying awhile. A month of Sundays hit the calendar.
Snow, followed by small boys on sleds. Rule Breakers, but Memorable These leads defy almost every canon decreed by those who prescribe standards of journalistic writing. The UP lead is in questionable taste.
Yet, the leads are memorable. They work because they meet the requirements of lead writing: Mayor Lindsay listed facilities for public safety yesterday as his top spending priority for next year, shifting from his pledge of a year ago to make clean streets his first objective in capital expenditures.
Svenson, the prolific author of many of the Nancy Drew, Bobbsey Twins and Hardy Boys juvenile books, said that the trick in writing is to set up danger, mystery and excitement on page I to convince the child to turn the page.
He said he had rewritten page 1 as many as 20 times. Plato knew the importance of the first words of a written work. The Old Testament begins with simple words in a short sentence: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
Another book, written 92 years later, is also familiar to high school readers, possibly because of the beginning that trapped them into reading further: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
What will you choose? But before the words can be selected, the facts must be sorted out. How does the reporter select the one or two facts for a lead from the abundance of material he or she has gathered?
Fact sifting begins well before the reporter sits down to write. Experienced reporters agree with journalists John W. Chancellor and Walter R. Their first step consists of answering two questions: What was unique or the most important or unusual thing that happened?
After answering these questions, the reporter seeks words and a form that will give shape to the responses by asking three more questions: Is a direct or a delayed lead best?Feature Leads The best rule in feature writing is to observe no rules, aside from those of basic journalistic style and structure.
The best lead for the feature story is a natural extension of the story - nothing forced or contrived without consideration to the tone or subject of the story. News Reporting and Writing By Melvin Mencher Leads on News Features Wrong.
When the occasion demands full information in the lead and the news writer is adept at constructing a sentence that has rhythm and balance, long leads are given a green light.
News writing is an essential skill for journalists.
Learn about the five Ws (Who, What, When, Where and Why) that every story should address. Hard News Vs. Feature Stories The Lead: The lead, or the first sentence of the story, is arguably the most important part Feature writing is not concerned so much with formula (as in the inverted pyramid structure of "hard" news writing) as it is interested in impact.
The gamut of subject matter and writing style employed by feature. For e.g. look at this lead of a recent news report — Contrast leads are used for all kind of stories – news, features, reviews etc but not often for breaking news. So if you are writing a news report about a high-profile murder, instead of using a boring summary lead informing who was murdered and why, you could make the piece more.
Feature writing can stand alone, or it can be a sidebar to the main story, the Rather than put the news elements of the story in the lead, the feature writer uses the first two or three paragraphs to set a mood, to arouse readers, to invite them inside.
News Writing and Reporting for Today’s Media, 3rd. Edition, New York: McGraw-Hill.