Types of News Lead Writing in Journalism With Examples

 Types of Leads in Journalism With Examples. Types of News Examples or Leads in News Story Writing.

21 Types of Journalism
Lead Writing- News Lead Writing
What is a News Lead?

The news lead is the most attractive part of the news article positioned in the first and second paragraphs of a news article after the headlines. Usually, a good lead attracts readers to read the feature’s body by highlighting the news’s central issue. It contains the most essential information, followed by the body containing details, and the tail includes additional info.  According to the inverted pyramid style, the news lead answers the five w and one h questions to illustrate the story. An attractive news lead always increases the news value.

How to Become a Good News Lead Writer?

A good news writer always follows the 5W and 1H of the report writing strategy in journalism to cover all issues related to the news headlines.

Good News Lead Examples

A Good Lead must follow the 5W and 1H rules of news writing.

Who Subject, people name, organization name
What Name of activity and event
When Day, yesterday, tomorrow
Where Location name
Why Background of the event, purpose, cause
How Process, detail of the event, audiences
What is the Length of a Sentence for Lead Writing?

According to Mansor (2010), The length of a sentence should not exceed 25 words. On the other hand, according to Mencher (2010), The size of a sentence should not exceed 35 words.

Types of Leads in Journalism

The two types of news leads in Journalism are:

  1. Traditional Lead (5W1H)
  2. Alternative Leads (10 Types of Lead in Journalism)
Types of Leads Wrtiting
Two Types of Leads Writing in Journalism
Traditional Lead

The traditional Lead is also known as the primary lead. It is constructed from 6 elements: who, what, when, where, why, and how. But, usually, the journalist will start with Who and What.  However, you can begin and end with any of the six elements. Traditional lead is one of the most common types of news lead writing strategy in journalism. It is similar to the Inverted Pyramid of news writing style.

Who-Lead News Writing Example
Headline Myanmar Ties the Young Tigers
Lead 1 The country’s under-22 squad (B-22) showed a lackluster performance in the opening match of Group A of the 2019 SEA Games when they only won a 1-1 draw against Myanmar just now.
Lead 2 The Young Tigers looked shaky early in the first half as they struggled to adapt on the surface of a synthetic pitch at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, Philippines.
What Lead News Writing Example
Headline Additional subjects follow the inclinations of the students
Lead 1 KUALA LUMPUR-The Secondary School Standard Curriculum (KSSM) (Upper Secondary), which will come into effect next January, aims to improve the flow of Science and Literature in the existing education system.
Lead 2 Deputy Director-General of Education (Policy and Curriculum Sector), Dr. Habibah Abdul Rahman, said Form Four students could choose four packages containing a combination of core and elective subjects in the new school term.
When News-Lead Writing Example

Title: New Vaccine Rollout Set for Next Month

News-Lead: Next month, residents of Springfield County can expect the rollout of a new vaccine aimed at combating the spread of the flu virus.

Title: City Council to Vote on New Zoning Regulations Next Week

News-Lead: Next week, the City Council is set to convene for a crucial vote on proposed zoning regulations that could reshape the urban landscape of our city.

Alternative Leads in Journalism

Alternative Leads include Staccato Lead, Question Lead, Narrative Lead, Contras Lead, Citation Lead, Straight Lead, Scene Lead, Anecdote Lead, Significant Detail Lead, and Direct address lead in journalism.

1. Staccato Lead

This staccato lead effectively sets the tone for the article, immediately drawing readers into the story and providing a concise summary of the main event and the contrasting emotions surrounding it

  • It is a dot sign in the music
  • It’s mean- separately read
  • It’s like a dot, meaning the end of the sentence
 Example of Staccato
Lead 1 Kuala Lumpur: There is no Raya shirt or any celebration, and this year’s festival doesn’t seem to mean anything to them. For the past two months, this hospital has been their second home.
Lead 2 “Every day, we just shed tears thinking of Raef who risked his life because his health condition is often uncertain,” said Noraini Jaafar, 37, mother of four-year-old Raef Uqael Mohd Rosli.
2. Question Lead

Question news-lead writing involves opening an article with a compelling question that piques the reader’s curiosity and encourages them to continue reading.  Write in a question sentence (like the question to the audience). However, the audience did not necessarily prepare the answer.

Here’s an original example of question lead writing:

“Will groundbreaking advancements in renewable energy finally pave the way for a greener future? As scientists unveil revolutionary technologies and governments commit to ambitious sustainability goals, the world stands on the brink of a transformative energy revolution.”

This question lead engages readers by presenting an intriguing inquiry about the potential for significant progress in renewable energy. It sets the stage for the article to explore recent developments and initiatives in the field, inviting readers to delve deeper into the topic.

Lead 1 Kuala Lumpur: Are you willing to wait as early as 8 am to buy various items at a discount of more than 70 percent in preparation for Aid ul Fitr, even though Sogo shopping malls in the capital are only open at 10 am?
Lead 2 Should we take the family shopping in the capital in the morning?
3. Narrative or Descriptive Lead

A narrative or descriptive lead in journalism aims to vividly depict a scene or event, drawing readers into the story with descriptive language and storytelling techniques.

Here’s an original example of a narrative or descriptive lead:

“As the first light of dawn painted the sky in hues of pink and gold, the sleepy village of Meadowbrook awoke to the sound of bustling activity. Against the backdrop of rolling hills and quaint cottages, farmers gathered in the town square, their weathered hands clasping baskets overflowing with freshly harvested fruits and vegetables. The air was filled with the sweet scent of ripe strawberries and the cheerful chatter of neighbors reuniting after a week-long market hiatus.”

This descriptive lead transports readers to the idyllic setting of Meadowbrook, immersing them in the sights, sounds, and atmosphere of the bustling village marketplace. It sets the stage for the article to explore the vibrancy and community spirit of the local farmers’ market. The situation/picture of the event

Example of Narrative or Descriptive Lead in News Writing
Lead 1 Seremban: The suspicious actions of two women in black hijab rushing out of a supermarket were answered when they were suspected of stealing various dishes at a supermarket in Seremban 2 yesterday.
Lead 2 Security guards sniffed the act of the two suspects in their 30s stealing the set of dishes before arresting them.
4. Contrast Lead

Contrans news lead in journalism compares two events. Opposite with the actor and event. A contrast lead in newspaper journalism juxtaposes two contrasting elements or perspectives to immediately capture the reader’s attention.

Here’s an original example of a contrast lead:

“While the city celebrated the grand opening of its newest luxury shopping mall, just blocks away, residents of the impoverished Southside neighborhood grappled with yet another night of power outages and crumbling infrastructure. As the glittering lights of the mall dazzled affluent shoppers, the stark reality of inequality loomed large in the shadows of neglect and disparity.”

This contrast lead effectively highlights the disparity between the affluent and neglected neighborhoods within the city, drawing attention to the stark contrast in living conditions and opportunities. It sets the tone for the article to explore issues of social inequality and urban development.

Example of Contrast Lead in News Writing

Lead 1 KUALA LUMPUR, July 26-The illegal gambling activities that have seemed ‘silent’ in recent months in public business premises are still happening in exclusive places, including luxury bungalows, condominiums, and private clubs.
Lead 2 President of the Malaysian Consumer Protection Association, Datuk Mohd. Firdaus Abdullah said the activity was difficult to detect by the authorities because it used a secure location and only involved invitations.
5. Citation Lead

A citation lead in journalism involves opening an article with a direct quote or reference from a credible source, providing immediate context or authority to the story. Statement from the sources (talk/seminar/press conference). I am starting with the “symbol. For example, the lead begins with a quotation mark. It is a unique type of news lead writing style in journalism.

Here’s an original example of a citation lead:

“In a recent interview with leading environmental scientist Dr. Emily Johnson, she warned, ‘The rapid decline of polar ice caps is an urgent wake-up call for global action on climate change.’ Dr. Johnson’s stark assessment comes amidst mounting concerns over the impact of rising temperatures on polar ecosystems and sea levels.”

This citation lead introduces the topic of climate change by referencing an expert opinion, Dr. Emily Johnson, thereby lending credibility and urgency to the issue. It sets the stage for the article to delve deeper into the scientific findings and implications of climate change.

Lead 1 Kuala Terengganu: “He told me to take care of myself and educate my children well before he ‘left’,” said Salihana Zawawi, 29, wife of Mohd Zawawi Seman, 36, who was found floating in the waters of Pulau Kapas, Marang after disappearing at sea together—three other brothers in Kuala Kemaman on June 21.
Lead 2 Mohd Zawawi’s body was found floating by fishermen at 5 pm yesterday before his body was taken by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement (APMM) to the Pulau Kambing jetty and handed over to the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital (HSNZ) Forensic Unit.
6. A straight lead or summary lead

A straight lead presents the story’s summary, showing the news outcome instantly. It gives the outline or a gist of the whole episode or article for readers who do not have a lot of time to sit and read can glance through actual headlines of the day.

Example of a straight lead

Kuala Lumpur: Celebrity entrepreneur Noor Neelofa Mohd Noor and her Islamic televangelist husband, Haris Ismail, have repeatedly come under police investigation after their alleged violations of the movement control order (MCO) made headlines.

7. A Scene Lead

A scene lead starts a story with an introduction and influences the readers to read the whole story. A scene lead in journalism paints a vivid picture of a specific moment or event, immersing readers in the scene to captivate their attention.

For example:

Johor Bahru: Security guards are not scared of any unwanted situation of their responsibility.

Here’s an original example of a scene lead:

“As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a golden glow over the tranquil harbor, the bustling fish market of Port Harbor came to life. Fishermen unloaded their day’s catch, their weathered faces illuminated by the flickering lanterns hanging overhead. The air was thick with the salty scent of the sea mingling with the lively banter of vendors haggling over prices, creating a symphony of sights and sounds that epitomized the vibrant maritime culture of the coastal town.”

This scene lead transports readers to the bustling fish market of Port Harbor, evoking the sensory details and atmosphere of the setting. It sets the stage for the article to explore the livelihoods of fishermen and the rich maritime traditions of the community.

8. Anecdote lead

It tells a short story to explain the whole story. This type of lead is used to describe a long story. An anecdote lead in journalism uses a short, engaging story or anecdote to introduce the main topic of the article.

For example,

Penang: For the two-week lockdown, which starts on June 1, most businesses and services in Sabah, except petrol stations, hospitals, and central and wholesale markets, will be allowed to operate from 7 am to 7 pm daily.

9. Significant Detail Lead

A significant detail lead opens the story by focusing on a concrete detail that symbolizes the central theme.

For Example, it was neither his family members nor friends who stole the politician’s car yesterday night.

10. Direct Address Lead

A direct-address lead speaks directly to the reader, using the second person. It addresses the reader directly as ‘you.’ It enhances the interest of the reader as it directly talks to them.

Example: “You might not get relief from the harsh winds as the weather will be the same for the next ten days or more.

In conclusion, the news lead is crucial for news and feature articles to attract audiences. It motivates the readers to read the entire story. Many passive audiences read only the headline and lead. However, an attractive news lead instigates passive audiences to engage with the article. The news lead generated according to the inverted pyramid structure influences active and passive audiences to read the whole article thoroughly. This article explains the types of news leads in journalism.

Author: M M Kobiruzzaman

M M Kobiruzzaman is a researcher, lecturer, and academic & creative content writer. He studied for a Master of Management By Research at the School of Business and Economics Faculty, Universiti Putra Malaysia. Previously, he graduated from the Department of Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia. His research interests contained Journalism, Social Media Communication, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and Corporate Communication. He has published several journal articles globally. He prefers to impart academic knowledge to other people through content writing. 

3 thoughts on “Types of News Lead Writing in Journalism With Examples”

  1. I am struggling to find example of “amazing fact lead”. I have assignment on that type of and I don’t know where to start because I don’t know even the definition. I tried searching but can find it. Can you please help me to explain what is an amazing fact lead and how to write it.

    1. I think you have to write a lead for fact news so forget the word “amazing”. You can choose a recent, newsworthy event or topic and write an attractive lead for your fact news. Do research more about fact news. You can go through the link to know more about news values

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