Talk:News style

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Not very clear[edit]

Terrible piece of writing.

  • What are the "Five Ws" - I don't think I should have to follow a link to find out.
  • "important characteristics: proximity, prominence, timeliness, human interest, oddity, or consequence"

If these characteristics are so important, why aren't they explained?

  • Overview: "over time and place" doesn't make sense. Maybe "in different times and places" ?
  • The second sentence in the overview is completely incomprehensible. I can't even guess what it is trying to say.
  • There are subheadings for "hed" and "dek" but then they are explained again at the end of the Lead section. This second defintion of "dek" defines it in terms of two new pieces of jargon "blurb" and "teaser".
  • It would be nice to have examples of a "hard lead" and a "soft lead" to complement the descriptions. Instead we have examples of "lead-and-summary" (which isn't explained anywhere) and a soft lead.
  • "the lead can be the most polarizing subject in the article" - what does that mean?
  • Inverted pyramid isn't well explained; 2hat does "The journalist top-loads..." mean?
  • The sentence "It allows people ..." is, grammatically, all over the place. It is too long and the writer obviously lost track of the subject.
  • I still don't know what "1-2-3 lead" means.
  • If the article is about "news style" why have a big section on "feature style" ?
  • "Feature stories often close with a 'kicker'" - right ... so what's a kicker? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:43, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Please sign your comments by typing four tildes (~~~~).

Many good points, thanks. I was motivated by some myself, and the long delay since any action on these and other issues, to start fixes, and ended up with a big clean-up.
  • Re: opening comment above: WP is a collaborative work - not everyone has time or resources to write as comprehensive, detailed or stylish articles as they or others would like. People are free, encouraged even, to create stub or starter articles for others to flesh out later. See also WP:TALK guidelines for commenting on others' work.
  • Re: "Five Ws", and "5Ws" too: Yes, I agree. As they are crucial to understanding I have explicitly listed them in lead/lede/intro rather than forcing readers to click to another article.
  • Re: the "important characteristics", I've added context (relativity to reader), which I think is crucial. Please feel free (and WP:BOLD) to add and verify explanations.
  • Re: Overview: I've had a tidy up to address some of these points, but still more to do. Have a go!
  • Because the order and number of sentences can change easily with subsequent edits, I suggest rather than saying "the second sentence", quote it, fully or partially depending on length.
  • Re: incomprehensibility: Good citations are essential so we can see if it is the source who doesn't make sense, or the WP editor's interpretation, in which case we can go back to the source and find a clearer way of expressing it in the article.
  • I fixed the duplication of "hed" and "dek". Maybe someone else can explain the jargon?
  • Yes, as someone says below, please find real examples.
  • Re: "polarizing": yes, citation and explanation would help, please.
  • Re: Inverted pyramid: Absolutely. A tool dear to my heart. I've had a good go at both this section and the Inverted pyramid main article itself. A particular question I have is why the original editor limited use of the term to instructors? Working journos (like I used to be) use it regularly too. Did the editor intend a particular distinction re instructors?
  • Re: "top-load" and other jargon, I've had a go at some.
  • Re: sentence starting "It allows people ...", I've had a little tidy here, but now see it still needs "making" changed to "makes" to improve grammar. Personally I don't think it's tooo long.
  • Re: "1-2-3 lead": Has the explanation (now) following it been added in response to your comment? Regardless, I now see the par could be further improved by joining sentences to read '... the "1-2-3 lead", which invariably starts ...'. Include in next edit please.
  • Re: inclusion of "Feature style" section, IMHO it's good to have it to show the contrast between the two styles, which helps illustrate the functions and value of "News style" when used appropriately. But I agree the contrast could be explained more clearly.
  • Re: "kicker", yes, please research, explain and cite.
Still plenty to do but I've over-run my time budget already. -- Bricaniwi (talk) 16:16, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Some edits[edit]

I just reverted some edits to the first 'graph, and I'll explain my motives here. Here's the "original" text which I re-posted to undo the recent edits.

News style is the writing style of short, front-page newspaper stories and of the news bulletins that air on radio and television. The term refers not only to the vocabulary and sentence structure of the prose, but to the order in which news stories present information, the tone they convey and the readers or interests to which they cater. +

Here is the edited version I didn't like:

News style is the concise authoring of newspaper, radio or television stories, favoring brevity and accuracy over embellishment and persuasion. The term refers not only to the vocabulary and sentence structure of prose, but to the order in which news stories present information, the tone they convey and the readers or interests to which they cater.

My issues with it: > "authoring" is word journalists have told me is inherently a violation of "news style." What's wrong with "writing?" Not a biggie, though.

> Lots of stories in papers, on the radio and on television are features or other news forms that aren't "straight news" and don't conform in all ways to news style. So the edits create a misleading assertion and a relatively vague direction to the reader. My wordier original text told people exactly where to look for instances of news style. 168... 16:51, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I liked the content of "brevity and accuracy over embellishment and persuasion," but I think it belongs (and partly already exists) in the "Goals" section that follows on the heels of the first 'graph. So I thought that content was redundant where it was inserted. Some of those words might make a nice addition or substitution to words elsewhere though, I think.168... 16:55, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I'm willing to go along with your direction, but I still think the first sentence is confusing or it might be a slight misplaced modifier. On first read, it sounded like "news style" is rewriting stuff for radio and TV. I think what you meant was that it's (short, front-page newspaper stories) or (news bulletins that air on TV or radio). Also, another problem I had is that it is not always front-page stories -- it could be wire copy or short briefs. And "news bulletins" are perhaps too specific for the broadcast description.
To me, there is nothing wrong with stating the "goal" of news style right up front and center. Inverted pyramid and not burying the lede, right? :) The way it is now, it takes quite a long time to get at the essence of news style, and I thought putting it up front would be nicer.
Re: authoring I admit, I don't really like either. However, not all things are written per se in broadcasting. So news style could be ad-lib'ed and never written. But perhaps I'm being too picky. - Fuzheado 04:22, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Thanks for being so open to argument. In response to your points, I've tried but can't see how the sentence suggests "rewriting." Still I'll see if I can find some better formulation. I take your point that the sentence doesn't encompass everything that's news style, but I would reply a)it's accurate as stated and b)although it doesn't tell readers everywhere they can go to find news style, it does guide them with precision to several places they're likely to carry in their mental maps, which to me makes the sentence fall only slightly short of everything I wanted it to achieve. I just couldn't come up with a sentence that is simultaneously all-encompassing, practical, succinct and readable. I expect you've been in such a situation a few times yourself.168... 19:24, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Thanks, 168..., for correcting my mistake in assuming that 'lede' was an unintentional misspelling of 'lead'. I should have consulted here first. Chris Roy 22:49, 9 Nov 2003 (UTC)

No problem! "Be bold" and "then retreat" seems to be the way this works. Also, in that particular sentence I think the spelling is a judgment call and not really a question of mistakes. The context suggests that the sentence in quotes is an exclammation shouted across a newsroom, in which case I'd say it should be "lead" so as to conform not only with conventionional spelling but with the convention that this article sets itself--by introducing the concept of the "lead" and offering "lede" only as a secondary spelling. But because "lede" is the primary spelling in newsrooms, at least traditionally, and because "Don't bury the lede" is being presented as a newsroom cliche, and because I imagine a newsroom reporter is as likely to see those words written as to hear them said, I think it's fair to regard "lede" as having been intentional and well thought out by the person who introduced that quote into the article.(Wasn't me)168... 23:19, 9 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I thoroughly agree. Thanks again—for fixing my (sort of :-) error and for quickly responding here. Chris Roy 23:33, 9 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Reply to my reply: Woops! I posted that last reply, I think, as a non-minor edit.
Hmmm...someone (Fuzheado) just changed it back to 'lead'. I'll leave the decision up to you, 168..., and to Fuzheado, trusting that you folks will resolve this. :-) Chris Roy 23:40, 9 Nov 2003 (UTC)
The rationale is that "lede" is inside baseball or a specialized industry spelling. It's "lede" only to prevent mix ups with the typesetting term "lead" (as in the metal). However, in this article it's more important for the lay-reader to understand what it means, instead of being obsessed with the apparant misspelling. Some folks may not catch the explanation of "lede" earlier in the article.

"They use subject-object-verb construction..." Is that right? That sounds kind of odd and overly complex, since English is normally subject-verb-object. Adam Bishop 23:37, 9 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Yeah, that's a mistake you found (so to construct).168... 00:25, 10 Nov 2003 (UTC)


Do we have a citation for this weird usage? It could be a regional or dialect issue. I've never seen any journalist in the United States use that spelling for the "lead" of their stories. --Coolcaesar 23:20, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

I just ran a casual Google search. It looks like the term is used mostly on the East Coast and in Canada but there was one use by a West Coast-based editor. So it may be a regional usage confined mostly to East Coast and Ontario newspapers. Does anyone else know what's the situation? --Coolcaesar 03:02, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
It is common to use lede as jargon in this manner in the UK Catchpole 21:28, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
In any event it's undocumented, so I'm removing it so that people can have the opportunity to find proof. Eclecticology 19:12, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. All the journalists I know on the West Coast (and I know several) refer to the "lead paragraph" or "leade" of their stories, not the lede!
There are enough citation on the internet from leading (ha ha) sources, including the New York Times and Random House (note that she spells it "lead" through the article, but in quotes and never quibbles with the archaic spelling) and a dozen or so more blogs and websites dealing with journalism instruction that use it. I think it's necessary to explain the spelling issue in the text, but lede is the correct spelling.--TheGrza 17:47, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
I had experience in a number of Northeast USA college newspapers and journalism style references. Never did I encounter "lede." Rather, I encountered "lead." Please note that even the wikipedia introduction of this term concedes that this is archaic English. The introduction of "lede" is another case of the introduction of dubious material into wikipedia. Dogru144 03:34, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, as long as we're relying on personal anecdotes to guide this discussion, I went to journalism school in Canada, and we used "lede." Considering a Google search turns up nearly five million matches for "lede," I'm not sure that the term qualifies as "dubious material," whether it's your preferred spelling or not. Greyfedora 18:50, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
Late to this a newspaper journalist in Canada and the UK I have seen not only lede and hed but also revu (review), intvu (interview), and others that don't come to mind. My belief is that these arose as deliberate misspellings in the (not-so-long-ago) era when hard copy was sent to typesetters; if the word were then typeset, the misspelling would indicate to any proofreader or layout person that it wasn't intended for publication. And I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere rather than conjured up the explanation myself, but I'm afraid I have no idea where. So that leaves the discussion on the anecdotal level... Barnabypage (talk) 21:21, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Hed & dek[edit]

This article should define hed & dekMichael Z. 2006-11-03 02:15 Z

Looks like two editors took your hint, in different sections. I have consolidated in my clean-up today. -- Bricaniwi (talk) 12:52, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

It appears that dek is still missing. -- 14 Oct 2015 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:49, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

Inverted pyramid[edit]

Instead / in addition to the large amount of text describing the pyramid, a picture describing the concept would be very useful. After all, the article is describing something which is a visual metaphor.

Here's an example:

Dhollm 17:43, 23 April 2007 (UTC)


So why does Wikipedia:clear redirect here? (talk) 07:03, 15 March 2009 (UTC)Dave

Looks like it's fixed. Wikipedia:clear is now (2 Dec 2009) a disambiguation page, and none of the entries there now redirect here. My guess is someone linked it because of the importance of clarity highlighted in this "News style" article, e.g. "the ABCs of journalism: accuracy, brevity, and clarity." -- Bricaniwi (talk) 12:49, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Not sure why we're seeing different things, but Wikipedia:clear redirects to News style for me. It'd be clearer if it pointed to Wikipedia:Writing_better_articles#News_style, which actually discusses news style in the context of Wikipedia editing. --McGeddon (talk) 12:54, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Eek! My bad! My apologies! I looked at Clear when Dave clearly said Wikipedia:clear.
I have now re-directed the re-direct as per your excellent suggestion, thanks, especially as the only page linked to that re-direct is a Talk page (Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Measurement), with only one link to it there, and in that context your suggestion fits. Anybody else creating links to it in future should check the redirect is appropriate for their context. -- Bricaniwi (talk) 16:35, 2 December 2009 (UTC)


Both examples of leads (hard and soft leads) are very bad leads (or ledes or whatever). I guess they are examples for what would be short very terse articles, but a better example would be something like "John Margelis awoke to find the cabin of his ship filling with icy water. The next 30 seconds would determine whether he would live or die." Maybe over-dramatic but a better example of a strong lead. Bonus Onus (talk) 21:14, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

I see what you're getting at, but ideally we should be looking for typical (and ideally real) examples of both kinds of lead/lede rather than taking a view on what's good or bad. Off-hand I would guess that the straightforward factual lead - Two people were injured when a car went off the road at the corner of State and Main last night. - is numerically a lot more common than the more featureish or newsmagaziney example you give. I'm fairly sure I have read scholarship on this - I don't have it to hand but perhaps someone with access to a good J-school library could help? Barnabypage (talk) 21:44, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Needs history and development section[edit]

The history of news reporting styles is fascinating. Try reading some newspapers from the early- to mid-1800's! -- Bricaniwi (talk) 16:39, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Needs research for a worldview[edit]

Also this article may not represent a worldview. Some cultures or languages may not have these attitudes to news and/or style - see WP:NPOV -- Bricaniwi (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 16:50, 2 December 2009 (UTC).


What tenses do News styles use?

Qwertyxp2000 (talk) 01:44, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

Article structure[edit]

I happened to read something about article structure, so started that article, though I claim near total ignorance of the topic. I think it is too much to merge here really, and didn't find intersections of some of the key terms there, but there are a lot of little articles chasing around on these topics I don't know about. Anyway, I'm up for suggestions - right now I'm thinking I should just mention it in here somehow per WP:summary style. Wnt (talk) 18:19, 21 October 2015 (UTC)