Poynter Results

  • Tips/Training


    3 guidelines for writing breaking-news leads

    In an age in which technology gives us the ability to publish anytime, anywhere, on any platform, it can be tricky to choose the best lead--especially when the news is breaking.

    Here are some guidelines to make sure your story is the one your audience chooses.


    • Did the story just happen?
    • Are you the first to report it, or will most of your audience already know about it?
    • Is the time element crucial?

    Audience needs

  • Tips/Training


    2 types of leads that get right to the news

    Whether you're reporting news or telling a story, you know you have to entice your audience instantly. There are essentially two types of leads for any story: direct and delayed. One gets to the point immediately, while the other may take awhile. But each type responds to the central interest: "Tell me the news" or "Tell me a story."

  • Article

    The winner for the best Pulitzer Prize lead is….

    Let’s say you walk into a bookstore with about $25 in your pocket on the prowl for a good read.  You pick up one volume, open to the beginning and read a short chapter called “Leaflets”:

    "At dusk they pour from the sky.  They blow across the ramparts, turn cartwheels over rooftops, flutter into the ravines between houses.  Entire streets swirl with them, flashing white against the cobbles.  Urgent message to the inhabitants of this town, they say, Depart immediately to open country."

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