News Leadshandout - News Leads Rules for writing straight...

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News Leads Rules for writing straight news leads Rule 1: Your straight news lead should be a single sentence—in fact, it should be 30 words or less AND it should summarize the basics of the story –usually the what, where, when, and often the who of the story. Rule 2: The lead’s first verb should express the main WHAT of the story—tell WHAT happened. And should be in the first seven words—if possible. Rule 3: The lead’s first verb should be ACTIVE --a verb is active if the verb’s subject did, is doing or will do something. --a verb is passive if the subject had, is having or will have something done to it. Rule 4: If there’s a WHO involved in the story, the lead should give some indication of who the WHO is. --if the who is not someone readers would recognize, the lead should focus on what things about the WHO might make him or her important to the reader. Ex: A Columbia man died Monday when an early morning fire raged through his Main Street home… --In this case the WHO’s name is not included in the lead—that’ s called a blind lead.
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