As I was reading the U.S. section of the New York Times on Friday I came across an article entitled “Request for an Emergency Rule on Border Gun Sales Is Denied” which began with what I thought to be a very well-written lead.  ”The Obama administration on Friday rejected a request for an emergency rule requiring gun dealers along the Mexican border to report bulk sales of assault rifles, a proposal intended to make it harder for drug cartels to smuggle weapons.”  i feel as if this lead is very strong as it incorporates the who, the what, the where, and the when all in just one sentence.  It provides the reader with enough information to understand what the article is about but also makes the reader want to continue on.  The lead gives straight facts that are to-the-point and easy to understand.

In contrast with the well-written lead above, I came across a lead that was rather weak.  In the Hampshire Gazette on Saturday the article entitled “MassBay Community College college student arrested with gun on campus ” begins with the lead, “Authorities have arrested a Massachusetts college student they say had a loaded semiautomatic weapon in his backpack.”  I did not feel that this lead provided the reader with enough information about the rest of the article.  It failed to incorporate the where, the when, and the how of the incident.  I did not want to continue with the article due to the boring introduction.  I would have incorporated more facts regarding the event.

Relating to the weak lead above, I was also unimpressed with a lead found in New Jersey’s paper The Bergen Record. The article “Glen Rock Student details his journey home from Cairo” begins with an incredibly vague lead; “For Glen roc’s Dan White, it felt like the best of times and the worst of times.”  Although the article attempted to begin with a catchy enticing phrase it fails to supply the reader with any relevant information.  I believe a lead must incorporate much of what the story is about in order to provide the reader with a general idea in which they will want to read on and learn about.  Although the author attempted to create a creative fun lead I would have included more about why Dan White has experienced both the best and worst times.

Also in the The Bergen Record I read an article that possessed a strong lead.  The article, “Christie says helping seniors with cable bills ’ a dumb idea’” begins with a strong informational lead, “Governor Christie Monday called a five-year-old law designed to help low-income senior citizens and disabled people pay their cable TV bills “a dumb idea,” saying there was no way the state can afford it in such dire economic times.”  I believe that this introduction incorporates the who, the what, and the when of the event all in one sentence that is clear and easy to take in but does not include too much detail to force the reader to continue on.



About LSinclair

I am a Junior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst studying Journalism and Anthropology. I am interested in photojournalism. I hope to some day travel the world and write for National Geographic
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