T.O.W. Week 8 –> The Lead Lab on NEWSU

Visit the Lead Lab! http://www.newsu.org/courses/lead-lab

The Lead Lab–>The lead of a story makes a promise to the reader of good things to come. Do you deliver on that promise every time you write a lead? Have you ever wondered how to craft better leads? The Lead Lab, with Chip Scanlan, is here to help.”

What I Learned:

  • The “Breath Test” – When reading your lead, the NEWSU Lead Lab says to ask yourself, “Are you able to say your lead in one breath?” If not, it can be an indicator that your lead is to long, so you need to be more specific or edit your choice of words
  • “Put your leads on a ‘to be’ diet”- According to the Lead Lab, you can tidy up your lead by “replacing verbs in the present continuous tense.” The examples they give are: instead of “is planning”- say “plan” and instead of “are hoping”- just say hope.

What Surprised Me:

  • How many types of leads there are! They have a topic for everything! Some include:
  • Delayed Leads – “Appeals to the human aspect of news, when the reader picks up the news and says ‘I know the news, now tell me a story.'”
  1. Anecdotal
  2. Significant Detail
  3. Emblem
  4. Round-up
  • Direct Leads- “Gets right to the point. Makes reader say, ‘Tell me the news'”
  1. Summary
  2. Analysis

What I Want to Know More About:

  • There are 4 “Myths of Lead Writing” that the NEWSU site lists:
  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. The lead must sum up the story in a paragraph

I just thought these were interesting ways to interpret what we would usually think to be writing-faux-pas.

I would like to see more writing myths that apply to all parts of the body content, not just the lead!


~ by lowoodward on April 20, 2010.

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