The New York Times story of a man who has been accused of planning to bomb a Chicago bar demonstrates the structure of a typical well-written news lead clearly.
The lead reads: "An 18-year-old suburban Chicago man, who the authorities say was enamored with Osama bin Laden and intent on killing Americans, has been arrested after attempting to detonate what he thought was a car bomb outside a Chicago bar, officials said Saturday."
A primary component of a lead is to include information on who, what, where, and when to get all the most important information out to the reader immediately. By naming the area where the man in the story is from, as well as revealing his age, the writer has added details to identify the man but did not go so far as to actually name him. This creates a good balance of creating a story readers can relate to, but making sure they are not bogged down with details. The added insert about his interest with Osama bin Laden is included to help the reader get a feel for who the man in the story is and what he was thinking at the time.
This lead is also able to tell readers information on what was happening, this young man has been arrested, and why it is happening, for attempting to detonate a bomb. The details about what bar have been left out of the lead because they would confuse readers who are not familiar with the area. Although the actual bar name is not vital to the story, the fact that it was in Chicago was included because it is commonly known and gives the reader a place to set the story. The lead also attributes the information to the officials it came from and does include when the story is from.
Since this is a hard-news story, the writer took the approach of using a standard lead. He left out mundane details and was able to develop the story in a more narrative way in subsequent paragraphs since he had already informed the reader of all the most important facts.