Writing a News Story

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Journalism120

Michael Jordan, John Lennon, Malcolm X, Bugs Bunny? It
seems that no one is immune from being a young man’s
hero.

Lights shine and sirens roar. It’s midnight and the police are
scanning the streets searching for youth out past curfew.

Three students await their expulsion hearing in front of the
Board of Trustees after violating school and district policies
in the last two months.

As the clock strikes midnight, a procrastinating student sits
down to work on a compensation which is due tomorrow.
Lead- the beginning of news story; conveys the
main idea in a few words to several paragraphs.
By reading the leads of several stories, readers
quickly gain key information about a number of
topics and get an overview of the day’s most
important news events.
Readers decide in the first
seven to fourteen words
whether or not to read a story.
Direct News Lead…
 is the first paragraph or two of a hard news story.
 the direct news lead gives the most important
facts, the 5 Ws and an H about the story. (This type
of lead is used on Hard News story. )
 Direct news leads are also called 5 Ws and an H
Lead because they answer most or all of the main
questions readers will ask. The answers to these
questions, given in the first paragraph or two,
make up the lead.
Choir members mixed business and pleasure
at a recent national contest in New Orleans
April 14-18 where the choirs reached first place
all around.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Who?
What?
When?
Where?
Why?
How?
Positive feedback from last year’s “Choices for
Youth” program has allowed Overland’s
Human Relations Committee, Youth Advisory
Board and IMPACT Team to bring back the
program again the week of May 2-6.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Who?
What?
When?
Where?
Why?
How?
Leads that tell who, what and why are popular
because readers recognize prominent names,
and they want to know what is happening and
what is important to them.
A good strategy is to use the values that make
story news: timeliness, prominence, proximity,
conflict, etc. Which value or values make this
story news to the audience? Who will be
reading the story? What will they be most
interested in reading about?
A summary lead is a direct news lead
that begins with a paragraph summarizing the
story; the second paragraph presents specific
details, such as names, ages, dates and
locations. The opening statements of the
summary lead are similar to the preview of
movies. Readers get an idea of what the story
is about, but they can’t really tell how the story
will evolve until they have more information.
One teen died and three others were injured in
an accident in Adams County over the
weekend.
Travis J. Vapp, 17, died at 12:20 a.m. Sunday
when the car he was driving went off a dead
end at the T-intersection of Highway 14 and the
KICS Road. Three passengers, Tom B> Hanson,
17, Amy M. Hayes, 17, and Ryan M. Conroy, 16,
were injured in the crash.
Using the picture below, write a summary lead.
Example
Bodiless heads are not usually the mainstream
definition of beautiful art, but for one TFHS class,
they have become both a creative outlet and a
teaching tool.
Art teacher, Shelly Christensen’s Studio Art class
has recently been learning about sculpture and the
human body through the molding of heads and
torsos.
Indirect leads



are leads that set a scene
or begin a story before revealing the topic of
the article. They may also be called:
Delayed leads
Feature leads
Storytelling leads



They are usually longer than direct leads and
introduce soft news stories.
They tell stories and create images and
typically vary from one to six or seven short
paragraphs although there is no fixed rule.
The NUT GRAPH, the paragraph that tells
exactly what the story is about, concludes the
indirect lead. In a direct news lead the first
paragraph is the nut graph.
Read the following article and indicate the
following:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Why does the indirect lead work for this
article?
How is the interest level strengthened?
How is the topic of this story hinted at?
When is the topic of the story made clear (nut
graph)?
Ultimately, what
determines the lead
you will choose as a
journalist? “The
judgement the
journalist has to make
is which kind of lead
will work best for
most readers.”
Inverted
Pyramid
and
Story Telling
Benefits:
 Organizes information from
most to least important
 Readers can quickly extract
information
 Editors can easily shorten
article following the
inverted pyramid if space is
a factor.

Story Teller pattern is an
organizational pattern that
invited the reader in with an
indirect lead, goes on to give
the pertinent facts and
information, and ends with a
clincher.
LEAD
CLINCHER
fact
fact
Inverted Pyramid
Story Telling
fact
For this activity you will work in groups of two.
You will be given one fairy tale to rewrite as:
◦ hard news with a direct lead using an inverted
pyramid
OR
◦ soft news with an indirect lead using a story telling
pattern.
Be sure to include ALL pertinent information
from the story so that reader is not left
confused or with questions.
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