"The lead writer must first decide what the most important news is, which can be difficult in situations where much is happening"(Cappon 24).
I found this decision tough when writing the assigned Accident Report. I came to the conclusion that both events were significant enough to include in the lead, but I don't know how well I combined them to be received effectively. One thing I've grasped thus far is that detail is critical. The problem I'm now having is deciding which details are most valuable and where do you put them. I suppose my understanding of this will gradually improve as I read more news stories with an attention to their structure and content placement. I like whenever things are laid out plain and simple (news readers likely appreciate this, too), so I was grateful for the short list of reasons Cappon gave for ineffective leads:
· Secondary detail
· Abstract general language
· Stress on how something is announced rather than what is said, or how news originates rather than the news itself.
· Entanglement in the chronology of an event
Now if I can just resolve the difference between minor and crucial details. For instance Cappon says if "bank robbers escaped in a baby blue Mercedes, that small fact belongs in the lead." If you're cutting words for the sake of brevity, and there are a plethora of other details, such as those in our recent exercise, does the car's description merit lead status? See, that's my trouble. I don't know!