Hello Lead

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"Hello, tree. There is good news and bad news for you today" (28).

I loved this quote. It may be silly, but it's similar to my writing style and grabbed my attention. I have an idea for the bad news, but what could the good news be?

I have to say though that I also fall under the problem of overstuffing. Like the article said the other day to front load your leads (kind of a super inverted pyramid style), I take that advice sometimes to the next level.

My leads try to cram in as much specific detail as possible to shorten, simplify, and include every point in the article. It easily becomes overcrowded; my sentences dragging on.

Student Opinions

2 Comments

Greta Carroll said:

Yeah, Aja, I can definitely understand your pain. I have the same problem. I’m afraid I won’t get enough information into my lead, and I have a hard time deciding which information is most important. So instead of forcing myself to prioritize the information I just try to stuff it all in the lead. However, as you point out, this can cause some serious problems. It makes the lead long and the sentence becomes more confusing, increasing the probability that the reader will misunderstand what you write. I think another valuable thing to consider is that if we really and truly stuff all the important information into our lead, why would a reader feel inclined to keep reading at all? Sure, we want to use the inverted pyramid, but that doesn’t mean we need to include every single detail in the first sentence.

Jessie Krehlik said:

Sometimes it's more important to grip the reader than it is to inform them. Leads are really tough. I wanna say that "less is more," but I'm not sure that's true. In my blog entry ( http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaKrehlik/2009/09/weakness_revealed.html ), I mentioned that I think the lead is the most important part of the news story, but because of that, it's also probably the most difficult part to write. It really shapes your story, don't you think?? A lot can be said from a lead, even in a short one.

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