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T.O.W. 8: The Lead Lab

March. 10. 2010.

What did you learn?

I learned how to have my audience engaged instantly and how to be a writer that captures and keeps their attention. This is what a good lead does.

Writing Myths:

  1. Leads must never begin with a quote
  2. Leads must always contain attribution
  3. A good lead is never more than three or four lines long
  4. A lead must sum up the story in a paragraph

Questions to ask that can help journalists gather, analyze, and organize information:

  1. Who: Focus on the people of the story.
  2. What: Incorporate action, reactions, events, tangible things and intangible things like revenge , loyalty, power, and weakness.
  3. When: Make sure it is released in a time frame that people would care about the subject. Sense of time is an essential elements of news reporting.
  4. Where: Take your audience to the place where news is occurring.
  5. How: Reporters help people understand how things work.
  6. Why: Write about why the event happened and what caused it to occur.
  7. So What: Make your news matter to your audience. You are taking up their time. Use it wisely!

What surprised you?

I knew that the media today is filled with a lot of conflict. What I didn’t know was that there is a different approach to enhance your lead. And that is called tension. Tension involves two things that compete with each other; conflict involves two things that go against each other. Effective leads provoke a question. This causes good tension within a story. Their stories trace the evolution of events and issues that make the news.

I was surprised by how interactive the course was. The Cleaning Your Copy course was simply lecturing and then a quiz after, but this had very cool activities to do that helped me learn more about creating interesting leads.

What do you want to know more about?

I would have liked to see more example leads.

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