Learning How to Write a Great Lead

  • Taking the NewsU The Lead Lab course really taught me some techniques on writing a lead paragraph. I know that I sometimes struggle with how long or too short of a lead. The lead lab suggests that it should be said in three breaths or 5o words long. Striving for fresh language and avoiding jargon is best.
  • Some of the information or tips surprised me while taking this course. But what I really want to write about is what I really liked about this course. The elements of effective lead writing section was incredibly helpful. Each of the who, what, when, where, how, why, and so what had great questions. I know that when I write a lead I sometimes get writers block on how to approach these subjects in a style that is lead appropriate. Some of the questions they had were: How did it happen? How does it work? How was the story revealed? Having these questions in front of you when your writing your lead can help brainstorm ideas.
  • I want to learn more about all of the myths. I really enjoyed this section. The myths section brought up techniques that I had not really thought about. Using quotes in the beginning of your lead, I am not sure that I have ever done this when writing a story but it is nice to know that I can. When the course talked about the myth of attribution, I found this very interesting. I can see how attribution especially in the lead part, when you need condensed information, can clutter the lead. I understand that myth three is to contain all of the information so that it does not leave the reading hanging. This idea of not being too short but not being to long is the technique I struggle most with.
  • Overall this course was very helpful and informational. Writing the perfect lead is challenging and will take practice. The more you write leads the more it will be easier to write them. I am taking a journalism class this semester and I know that I still need to work on writing a great lead to a story. It was nice though to have this course, and learn some great tips!

(Topic of the Week Eight)

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