This session was a little more basic than I hoped, but it was still a nice refresher of ways we can spice up our ledes, something we’ve been struggling with lately. The speaker said summary ledes, which present the most critical information first, are appropriate in breaking news stories, but in feature stories and follow-ups writers need to be more creative to reel readers in.
He gave the example of a follow-up story about the Virginia Tech shootings in which the lede described the sound of the gunshots and people’s initial reactions. He said these descriptive or scene setting ledes can be particularly effective in news stories. He also gave the group a few examples of news stories with summary ledes and asked us to rewrite them. I generally like taking more time to think about descriptive ledes and we were only given a few minutes, but it was still good practice and got me thinking about ways we can improve our ledes.