How leads lead a story
A lead essentially summarizes a story in one or two sentences. It tells you what happened, who it happened to, when it happened, and where it happened. Occasionally a lead will tell the reader why it happened, too. However, in most cases, the â€śWHATâ€? is going to determine the direction of a lead.
In order to determine the â€śWHAT,â€? you must ask yourself â€śWhere is the action? What is most important in this story?â€? From here, the summary tends to fall in to place.
It is important to not give too many specifics in a lead; it should be general enough but specific enough to tell the story. The critical information should be detailed, other details can be added further into the story.
As far as names go, you should only include them if the person has name recognition. For example, you would mention Harrison Fordâ€™s name in the lead (if the story was about him); you would not mention Jane Doeâ€™s name.
If the lead is not a straightforward hard-news lead, the reporter used it to grab the readerâ€™s eye. It is important to grab the readerâ€™s attention otherwise they will not read your article.