TOW 4: The Lead Lab Course

For the most part, The Lead Lab was more of a brush up of skills I have already learned in the past. The Lead Lab explains that a lead should be short and concise. A lead should answer the “5 W’s and H” (Who, What, Where, When, Why, How) in as much detail that is necessary to get the point across. Saying too much in the lead can bore the audience, but not having enough information will deter the audience from reading any further. Soft/feature and hard are the two different types of news leads. The purpose of a soft news lead is to grasp the readers imagination and get them excited to read more. The soft news lead is usually longer than a hard news lead and goes into more creative writing. The hard news lead answers the “5 W’s and H’ and continues with the body of the paper. In a soft news lead some of the important details might not come until the second or third paragraph of the story, whereas in a hard news lead the most important information comes first.

The one thing that never seizes to surprise me every time I take a course talking about news leads is how important the lead is in the story and the preparation that goes into writing a lead. Sometimes a writer will rewrite their lead five or six times before it is deemed perfect. Sometimes the lead is the last thing written in the news story. The lead is the one single thing that makes people want to read more into a news story. If you don’t have a strong lead, you won’t have many readers!

Ever since I started taking classes within my major I have had at least one week devoted to learning how to write leads in each class. Although the many countless weeks have shaped me into a better writer, I believe that my lead writing is still not up to par. My News Reporting and Writing Professor told me that it takes time and practice like anything else, but I feel as if I should be better than I am right now. Learning how to write an A+ lead is something that I’ve wanted to do since I started on my journey through my PR major. Through taking this course I have learned more about leads and I do believe that with a little more practice I’ll be good to go!

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