Digging is for Reporters and Shovels, Not Readers

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Every now and then, I'll read a rule in one of our style books, and my first reaction will be, "Oh.  Oops."  Right from the beginning, Cappon revealed a mistake I'd made in our recent assignment, the Accident Report. 

"To avoid mumblers, the lead writer must first of all decide what the most important news is..." (Cappon 24)

For some reason I found writing the lead extremely difficult.  I had a hard time deciding what to include, the pedestrian being struck by a car, or a package being stolen as the car's driver went to help the pedestrian.  Should I include both, and if so, how?  In this case, I could not decide which incident to highlight, and so I clumsily inserted them both.  I'm sure there were many of you able to skillfully include both.  I, however, am sadly exiled from your group. 

Getting to the point, and not "burring the news" will ensure that your reader knows why he/she should bother with your article.  Making the lead comprehendible lets the reader know that he/she will be able to bother with your article.      


Aja Hannah said:

I think both are news and can be used as different angles in different articles or as a follow up like he said later.

I did the same thing as you though. Writing leads are just so hard.

Kaitlin Monier said:

I had the same reaction to that part. How does a reporter choose which story to include in the lead? I included the pedestrian and the package and it was too wordy. Limiting it to one main story would make the lead read smoother, but choosing just one part of the story is difficult because important information could be left out.

Josie Rush said:

I'm glad I wasn't the only one. I was struggling bcuz, ppl are more important than packages, and yet, the pedestrian thing was resolved (and she wasn't hurt), but the package was still missing...ugh.
Aja, you're right, following up with the other story would have been fine. I just felt weird excluding either in my lead.
Kaitlin, now I'm curious, what did you end up doing?

Kaitlin Monier said:

I tried putting both parts of the story into the lead.
Here was my attempt at the lead: An Elizabeth Mount College (EMC) student was injured when she was hit by a vehicle. As the driver was checking on the student’s condition, a package was taken from his car.
I tried to fit everything in, but I don't think it worked. Maybe Dr. Jerz gave us a two-parted story on purpose?

Dianna Griffin said:

Josie, I had a terrible time too. I always overthink whatever I am doing and then when I look back at what I did I always seem to find a mistake as well.

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