The Lead Lab, Week 4

June 11, 2010 StormAshley

An assignment for this class we were too check out The Lead lab. I found this course very helpful. The lead lab discussed the importance of leads and how to properly write them. The first topic I chose to review was discovering how to write a lead.

Here, I learned that it is important to start with the five W’s and an H; What, who, where, when and how. Reporters and writers have used the 5 W’s and an H for over the past 100 years. Then when you acquire that knowledge, you choose two of them to zero in on. I found it helpful that they provided us with tips from writers. One tip that I found useful was try to put yourself in the place of the reader or audience. It is also important to interview your best source yourself.

Next you look for the tension in the lead. Many stories are believed to be told best when they involve tension in them. Tension, when two forces compete with each other, is not the same as conflict. Conflict is when two forces attack each other.

The last step is choosing your lead. It should depend on your news organization, the news,  and the timing of the publication. It is important that you are the first to report and in a timely manner. It is important that your reader’s hear the news from you first.Exclusivity also plays a major role in choosing a lead.

It is important to understand that leads should never begin with a quote. It is also important that your lead contains attribution, although it is important to readers to know where the source comes from. It can become overwhelming for a reader. I found it surprising that a good Lead is never more than three or four lines long, keeping it short is crucial.

It is important for the lead to sum up the story in one paragraph. Reader’s want the entire story compacted into one paragraph. Although this course was helpful too me I would like to see more examples of good leads and receive more tips on choosing the right words that are  catchy and should be included in leads.


Entry Filed under: Topic of the Week

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