This week I took the NewsU course The Lead Lab. I found this course to be very helpful when writing leads. The course asked you to click on the seven hot spots in the lab. Each hot spot was a different activity to help you sharpen your lead writing skills.

Below I will describe the different hot spots.

Refresh your lead basics: Here the basic elements of the lead were broken down. The basic elements include: who, what, where, when, why, how, and so what.  There was also an activity at the end where you chose a headline to a story and broke it down into the basic elements.

Discover lead types: There are two types of leads: direct and delayed. Direct gets to the point immediately while delayed tales a little longer. Direct leads are broken down into two smaller groups: summary and analysis. Delayed leads are broken down into smaller groups: round-up, emblem, significant detail, and anecdotal. At the end there was a game to test your knowledge of lead types.

Write better leads:This part shows you the next step after you know the 5 W’s, the H, and the SW. It gives you tips on how to develop your ideas into a lead sentence that is effective.

Fix your leads: This section shows you how to revise your lead. Some tips include: read your lead aloud, play the revision game, and remember the basics.

Share a great lead:In this section you can submit a lead that you have written yourself or one that you saw in a newspaper.

You be the reporter: In this section you can apply what you’ve learned. This activity you pretend to be a reporter and write your own leads.

Explode writing myths: Here they prove some myths about lead writing to be wrong.

  1. leads must never begin with a quote
  2. leads must always contain attributions
  3. a good lead is never more that three or four lines long
  4. a lead must sum up the story in one paragraph