Writing great ledes
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Writing great ledes. Collect all your facts Sum it up, boil it down Prioritize the five Ws (and an H) Rethink, revise, rewrite Is it clear? Is it active? Is it wordy? Is it compelling? Is it news??????. Arthur Brisbane ( L.D.).

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Writing great ledes

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Writing great ledes

Writing great ledes

  • Collect all your facts

  • Sum it up, boil it down

  • Prioritize the five Ws (and an H)

  • Rethink, revise, rewrite

  • Is it clear?

  • Is it active?

  • Is it wordy?

  • Is it compelling?

  • Is it news??????


Arthur brisbane l d

Arthur Brisbane (L.D.)

“If you don’t hit a newspaper reader between the eyes with your first sentence, there is no need of writing a second one.”


Don wycliff ph l

Don Wycliff (Ph.L)

“I’ve always been a believer that if I’ve got two hours in which to do something, the best investment I can make is to spend the first hour and 45 minutes of it getting a good lead (lede), because after that everything will come easily.”


Ledes ledes ledes

Ledes, ledes, ledes


Basic inverted pyramid lede

Basic inverted pyramid lede

  • This is the one you must master


Basic inverted pyramid lede1

Basic inverted pyramid lede

  • This is the one you must master

  • Prioritize the Ws and a H and jam most of them into the first sentence


Basic inverted pyramid lede2

Basic inverted pyramid lede

  • This is the one you must master

  • Prioritize the Ws and a H and jam most of them into the first sentence

  • Sum it up, boil it down


Basic inverted pyramid lede3

Basic inverted pyramid lede

  • This is the one you must master

  • Prioritize the Ws and a H and jam most of them into the first sentence

  • Sum it up, boil it down

  • Is it clear, active, not wordy, compelling?


Basic inverted pyramid lede4

Basic inverted pyramid lede

  • This is the one you must master

  • Prioritize the Ws and a H and jam most of them into the first sentence

  • Sum it up, boil it down

  • Is it clear, active, not wordy, compelling?

  • The essence of journalism: what is the news?


Steve jobs on newspapers

Steve Jobs on newspapers

  • The father of creative destruction… iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPads

  • In 2006 he predicted that in five years there would be no printed papers

  • Challenged older media to adapt to how he thought people would consumer their product… news

  • Top use for iPad is news. Steve’s fav app?


Other lede variations

Other lede variations

  • Delayed identification lede


Other lede variations1

Other lede variations

  • Delayed identification lede

  • Lede that withholds a person’s name (or other key W) until the second graph


Other lede variations2

Other lede variations

  • Delayed identification lede

  • Lede that withholds a person’s name (or other key W) until the second graph

  • Don’t name names in lede unless person is well known (Prominence)


Other lede variations3

Other lede variations

  • Immediate identification lede


Other lede variations4

Other lede variations

  • Immediate identification lede

  • Use only when somebody really important says or does something


Other lede variations5

Other lede variations

  • Anecdotal/narrative ledes


Other lede variations6

Other lede variations

  • Anecdotal/narrative ledes

  • A mini story to illustrate your bigger story


Other lede variations7

Other lede variations

  • Anecdotal/narrative ledes

  • A mini story to illustrate your bigger story

  • Save for longer stories, feature news, softer news


Other lede variations8

Other lede variations

  • Anecdotal/narrative ledes

  • A mini story to illustrate your bigger story

  • Save for longer stories, feature news, softer news

  • Wall Street Journal loves this style


Other lede variations9

Other lede variations

  • Scene-setter: “It was a dark and stormy night...”


Other lede variations10

Other lede variations

  • Scene-setter: “It was a dark and stormy night...”

  • Direct address: “Your tax bill is about to go up after Sarasota City Commissioners...”


Other lede variations11

Other lede variations

  • Scene-setter: “It was a dark and stormy night...”

  • Direct address: “Your tax bill is about to go up after Sarasota City Commissioners...”

  • Startling statement: “One in three LAF students will drop their iPhones in a smoothie this year...”


Ledes to avoid

Ledes to avoid


Ledes to avoid1

Ledes to avoid

  • Topic lede: “The City Commission met Tuesday to discuss tax increases.”


Ledes to avoid2

Ledes to avoid

  • Topic lede: “The City Commission met Tuesday to discuss tax increases.”

  • Question lede: “Will the Florida Gators come out of their funk in time to earn a bowl bid?”


Ledes to avoid3

Ledes to avoid

  • Topic lede: “The City Commission met Tuesday to discuss tax increases.”

  • Question lede: “Will the Florida Gators come out of their funk in time to earn a bowl bid?”

  • Quote lede: “Journalism is the best class ever,” said Buoy M. I. Smart.


Meet your dateline

Meet your ‘dateline’

  • Its used to let readers know where the story is originating


Meet your dateline1

Meet your ‘dateline’

  • It’s used to let readers who where the story is originating

  • Style is:

    SARASOTA, Fla. --


Meet your dateline2

Meet your ‘dateline’

  • It’s used to let readers who where the story is originating

  • Style is:

    SARASOTA, Fla. –

    No need to add state with big cities such as Chicago, San Francisco or Miami


On deadline

On deadline….

  • You are a hard-news reporter

  • You are writing for tomorrow’s paper and website

  • Write a lede and second graf from the following facts

  • Use summary, inverted pyramid style lede

  • Less than 35 words in your one-sentence lede!


Assignment 10 22

Assignment 10/22

  • Pages 46-51

  • Exercises 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 on pages 62-63


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