Now flip it upside down.
To apply the concept to news, think of the most important details as the widest layer of the pyramid, its foundation. The least important details are at the top. It also helps editors to cut out less important tidbits to fit an article into the space allotted for it in print. Pieces like this require a great deal of knowledge about the event, the area in which it takes place and the people involved, and thus are usually written by more experienced reporters who specialize in covering certain areas or topics.
You can find analysis pieces in the newspapers mentioned above, as well as in non-daily publications, like the weekly newsmagazine Time. Editorials are informed opinion pieces and are usually printed on the editorial or op-ed page of a newspaper. You need to research your topic and present a well-reasoned argument. A feature article builds upon the interests of the audience. It opens the door to more creative approaches to traditional, straight news ledes and inverted pyramid formatting. These stories focus on people and what they like to do, where they live, what they eat, what entertains them.
Features stories include:. Profiles of prominent or unique individuals of interest to the community 2. Don Terry put this lead on his news feature:.
Styles of News Writing
But the day after the date, Ms. Haile called a friend and said that the man was too old and that she could not marry him. A day later, she was found dead along an Atlanta highway, shot in her head. In the third paragraph is the arrest, which in times past would have been the lead to this story.
The police have charged the man who set up the date, Arega Abraha, with murder. Speaker, the whole world is watching. The editor, Cole C. Campbell, explained the choice of a delayed lead: "We knew people would know the outcome of the vote when they picked up the paper, so we wanted to do a story that conveyed the historicity of the moment. In Rwanda. He had to put faces on the carnage. Numbers alone would only numb readers. Health centers were set up in Rwanda in an attempt to lure refugees back to their country from neighboring Zaire, to which they had fled. Fritz began his news feature about the centers this way:.
To Rwanda. These outposts at Goma's doorstep are part of a quick and somewhat haphazard effort to create a corridor of health care in Rwanda from which more than 1 million people fled over several panicked days in early July. Note that a direct lead could have been fashioned out of the material in the third paragraph. Fritz chose to featurize the story, and the impact is obvious.
His coverage included feature stories and straight news accounts as well as news features. His work was recognized with the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. A Story of Drugs.
Tips on Writing a News Report
At first glance, the death record that police reporter Robert Popp of the San Francisco Chronicle saw in the police file seemed routine. Here is their news feature:. Small Boy's Big Loss to Drugs. Johnny B. Her nose was bleeding badly. Johnny got up, found some tissues, and wiped her face clean. Then he went back to sleep. When he awoke again at a. Her face was covered by new blood. Johnny dressed himself neatly — as usual — and groomed his Dutch boy haircut before going downstairs to tell the hotel clerk about his "sick" mother. The coroner's office later determined that she had died from an overdose of an undetermined drug.
Writing in Different Genres
Johnny recounted that the night before, two men had visited the studio apartment in the Inner Mission District. The men left some time after Johnny went to bed. Ruth's Blooper. There may finally be a question that embarrasses Dr. Ruth Westheimer. It's about the accuracy of her book. A baby, perhaps.
How to Write a Lead and 7 Types of Leads | PPU Online
Ruth and education professor Nathan Kravetz, has a major error on page Direct or Delayed? But lines tend to blur between these extremes. Usually, publications, stations and the online servers establish a style their reporters follow. When a study of bank lending practices found that whites are more likely than blacks to receive mortgage money, Michael Quint of The New York Times began his story with a direct lead:.
Here is how his story began:. He had a steady job, equity in the house and little debt, but they turned him down. When Resource wouldn't refinance Mr. Saunders says. The Dangers. The narrative style has influenced papers across the country, but the style sometimes has spread by contagion rather than by healthy example. The delayed lead requires a talented hand. Moreover, it cannot be used at the reporter's whim. In an attempt to sell their editors on their stories, ambitious reporters use delayed leads on routine news stories, and some reporters play with delayed leads when they are unable to write direct news leads.
By taking the narrative or chronological approach or by focusing on an individual or an incident, they hope that the reader will somehow figure out just what the news point is. Editors are aware of these tactics and the abusers of the delayed lead find themselves confined to taking scores from the local bridge and bowling leagues and explaining to the wrestling promoters why the sports editor doesn't consider wrestling results worthy of space.
The Combo Lead. The story begins with a few general sentences. Then the reporter hits the reader with a karate chop at the end of the first paragraph. Here are two typical Buchanan leads:.
The man she loved slapped her face. She did. His kindness cost his life. He was persuaded to take his place in line, but when he reached the counter there was no fried chicken, only nuggets, whereupon he slugged the woman at the counter. In the ensuing fracas, a security guard shot Robinson. Buchanan's lead was:. Gary Robinson died hungry.
Buchanan says her idea of a successful lead is one that could cause a reader who is breakfasting with his wife to "spit out his coffee, clutch his chest, and say, 'My god, Martha. Did you read thisT ".
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A Difficult Choice. Let us listen to Margaret as she mulls over the notes she has taken at a city council meeting:. There were 13 items on the agenda. Well, which were the important ones? Clearly, I need a direct lead here. Four of them seem to deal with traffic. Should I summarize them or should I pick out the truck route or the traffic study? They seem equally important, so maybe I'll play with a summary lead. I'll drop the stop signs way down and then go into the painting contract. She writes:.
The City Council today took three significant actions to cope with the city's downtown traffic congestion. The Council:. Approved the employment of Rande Associates, a consulting firm from Burbank, Calif.