By Sajeeb Sarker
News Lead: Approaches to Writing Different Types of Leads
Media School July 10, 2020
“What is news? It is information only.”
— Walter Cronkite, former CBS News Anchor
The first paragraph of a news story is usually the 'lead' that often summarizes the whole story. As we can understand, each news is different from the other. And different types of information are significant in different types of news stories.
Keeping that in mind, news leads can be written from different approaches prioritizing the key information, or at least following an interesting fact, in a particular story.
In that case, leads can be written as following:
1. Who lead: begins with a person (or group) who tells the story or whom the story tells about (person/s or group/s involved)
2. When lead: begins with the time (when it happened)
3. Where lead: begins with the place a story tells about or at least involves (where it happened)
4. Why lead: begins with the 'cause' of the story (why it happened)
5. What lead: begins with the fact of the story (what happened or what the story is about)
6. How lead: begins with the 'how' of the story that usually explains the cause or reason, or explains a process (how the event happened)
But, writing a news lead following any of the aforesaid categories does not ensure that the grounding fact is always the most important issue of the story (i.e. 'Who' or the person may not be the most important factor of a story written following the 'Who Lead'). Leads can be written following such approaches only for enjoying the convenience of telling a story also.