I Heard It From The PR Girl

Week 8: Writing A Lead

Posted in Topic of the Week by laurynwilliams on March 2, 2010

I have taken a few courses in my college career already that have allowed me to practice writing news leads. Some are always better than others, but the NewsU The Lead Lab course really helped point out some general facts about writing effective news leads as well as give the opportunity to read other leads and have your own leads critiqued.

What did you learn?

I generally write leads well, but I never start off with a perfect lead. This course helped remind me to read your lead over and over again before and after your article is finished. I always have to change my leads. When I turn in a lead to any of my classes that has not been reviewed, it will most likely be wrong or better written another way. This course helped me recognize many of my lead writing mistakes.

What surprised you?

It surprised me to read some of the well written leads. They really showed me how I could rethink what I should have in my leads. Of course the “5 W’s” (who, what, when, where, and why) and “the H” (how) must be present, but if it is a news release being written to follow up on a previous event, I also have to take into account “What happened” in my lead.

What do you want to know more about?

I could probably learn about writing effective and catchy news leads all year and still be able to perfect my leads in some way. A lead can only be determined by the story or news release you are writing. I think it would benefit me the most to know more about feature or soft news leads. I think they are more creative and catchy and I am more used to writing hard news leads in my journalism classes. The different forms of leads are important to understand, because then your can more effectively write a lead that fits your article or news release. This course definitely made me realize I should be aware of the different types of leads as well as how to write them.


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