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Writing the Hard News Lead (Review) Journalism/New Media II Summer 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing the Hard News Lead (Review) Journalism/New Media II Summer 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing the Hard News Lead (Review) Journalism/New Media II Summer 2009

2 The lead… Tells readers what the story is about Foreshadows whats to come If you have no information to support your lead, its the wrong lead

3 Picking your lead What is the story about? Whats the most important information? What will you remember most about the story a year from now? What is the main point of the story? If you had to twitter the story, what would you tweet first?

4 Strong leads… Are 25 words or less Are written in active voice Get right to the point Use the only the most important ws Keep the audience in mind Are objective and use attribution when necessary

5 Hard News Lead Also called a Summary Lead –Summarizes in one sentence what the story is about –Answers some, but not all, of the five ws Who, what, when, where, why –Example: WASHINGTON Tom Daschle withdrew his name on Tuesday as President Obamas nominee to lead the Health and Human Services Department, a startling decision that came only hours after the withdrawal of another candidate for a high White House office. (NY Times, 2/3/09)Tom DaschlePresident ObamaHealth and Human Services Department

6 Choose your ws Do not try to cram all the ws into a lead Who, what and where make the most appearances Use the w with the most importance to the story When almost never comes first –Make sure it goes where it makes sense

7 Delayed Identification Do not use names in hard news leads: –A public figure or celebrity –Unless the person is well-known –Or, if you are writing a feature lead Instead, identify person by: –age, occupation, location, crime

8 Delayed Identification Lead: Goucher College has suspended a visiting professor from Rwanda after being told he stands accused of participating in the 1994 genocide that killed some 800,000 people in the African nation. Leopold Munyakazi, who taught French last semester, was removed from teaching duties in December after school officials learned of an indictment by a prosecutor in Rwanda. (The Baltimore Sun, 2/3/09)

9 When to use attribution in leads Quotes/partial quotes Something accusatory –Most often used attribution in crime stories: Police said/experts say. Attribution should come last –Most important information first Ex: Baltimoreans are more likely to die young than residents of any other city, a study shows.

10 Impact and Updated leads Impact leads explain how readers will be affected by the issue Updated leads update information/stories already told –Stress whats happening now

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