This week our teacher had us do a LeadLab course online to learn more about writing leads. Here are some basic tips I learned from the course.

  • A lead should be a summary.
  • Use the five w’s when writing leads – who, what, when, where and why
  • The most important newsworthy information goes first.
  • The lead tells the reader what the focus of the article will be about.

I thought this lead course was a good overview of writing leads. It also forced me to focus more on the content of the leads that I write. However, because the course is short and only online, I felt like I needed more practice after I finished the exercises.

I am also in a news, reporting and writing course this semester. We get plenty of practice writing leads. One thing I learned that I think is important to include has to do with structure. Since you always put the most newsworthy information first, do not start with when. A lead should usually go who did what. When should only begin the lead when it makes a story more interesting.