Types of leads
Journalistic leads emphasize grabbing the attention of the reader. In journalism, the failure to mention the most important, interesting or attention-grabbing elements of a story in the first paragraph is sometimes called "burying the lead". Most standard news leads include brief answers to the questions of who, what, why, when, where, and how the key event in the story took place. In newspaper writing, the first paragraph that summarizes or introduces the story is also called the "blurb paragraph", "teaser text" or, in the United Kingdom, the "standfirst".
Leads in essays summarize the outline of the argument and conclusion that follows in the main body of the essay. Encyclopedia leads tend to define the subject matter as well as emphasize the interesting points of the article. Features and general articles in magazines tend to be somewhere between journalistic and encyclopedian in style and often lack a distinct lead paragraph entirely. Leads and book forewords vary enormously in length, intent and content.
In journalism, there is the concept of an introductory or summary line or brief paragraph, located immediately above or below the headline, and typographically distinct from the body of the article. This can be referred with a variety of terms, including: the standfirst (UK), rider, kicker (US), bank head(line), deck, dek, or subhead (US). (See News style § Terms and structure.)
The term is sometimes spelled "lede", with a claim it was a historical spelling intended to distinguish it from the homograph lead, a metal commonly used in typesetting in the early 20th century. However, the spelling "lede" first appears in journalism manuals in the 1980s, well after lead typesetting's heyday.
- Abstract (summary)
- Editorial (also known as a "leader" in British English)
- Introduction (writing)
- Inverted pyramid (journalism)
- Nut graph
- Opening sentence
- "Carol" (author unidentifiable) (November 28, 2000). "The Mavens' Word of the Day: lede". RandomHouse.com. New York: Random House/Bertelsmann. "Maven's Word of the Day" blog (defunct as of 2012). Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-28. This tertiary source reuses information from other sources but does not name them.
- Peha & Lester (2006). Be a Writer: Your Guide to the Writing Life!: Proven Tips and Powerful Techniques to Help Young Writers Get Started. Leverage Factory. p. 125.
- Spark, David; Harris, Geoffrey (2010). Practical Newspaper Reporting. Sage Publications. pp. 89, 90, 94, 167. ISBN 9781473903340.
- "Standfirst". Double-Tongued Dictionary. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
- "Lede". Merriam-Webster Online. Chicago, IL, US: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-28.
- "Owens, Howard" (September 18, 2011). "lede-vs-lead". HowardOwens.com. New York: Owens Press. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
- William Metz (1977). Newswriting: from lead to "30". Prentice-Hall. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-13-617514-8.
- Louis Martin Lyons (1965). Reporting the news: selections from Nieman reports. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 286.
- Grant Milnor Hyde (November 2008). Newspaper Editing - A Manual for Editors, Copyreaders and Students of Newspaper Desk Work. Read Books. ISBN 978-1-4437-2632-0.
- Carl G. Miller (1962). Modern Journalism. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. p. 33.
- Frank Luther Mott (2000). American Journalism: A History of Newspapers in the United States Through 250 Years, 1690–1940. Routledge/Thoemmes Press. ISBN 978-0-415-22893-0.
- The dictionary definition of lede at Wiktionary