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Leads

It is important to relate the who, what, where, when, and how or why when in many news leads. Some of these parts, however, may be omitted because they are not of much importance. For example, many scientific studies will not communicate the where in the lead--or even the story--if the who suffices.

In the story, Governor Pawlenty's Budget Proposal Puts State Art Schools at Risk, the where is not important in explaining the art schools are at risk. It suffices that these schools are in Minnesota, which is understood by explaining the who, Gov. Pawlenty. It is therefore the who and what that are most important, while the when, where, and why may be general, or omitted.

The reporter may opt for a less straightforward hard-news lead if the story has a quirky side to it. These stories may be more fascinated with one certain aspect, like the what, and omit the other parts. For example, Draper begins his story with this lead: "The Perpich Center for Arts Education -- a hallmark of school choice in the state -- faces a fight for survival." Draper believes the who and what are very important, but finds no reason to even include the why, when, and where. As a result, the lead has a shocking effect.

Draper, Norman. "State arts school fights to survive." Star Tribune. http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/art/38783607.html?elr=KArks:DCiUHc3E7_V_nDaycUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aULPQL7PQLanchO7DiU