Monday, September 15, 2008

Taking the Lead

Have you read a summary lead or seen a short report? You probably have and did not realize it.

So what is a summary lead and a short report anyway?

A summary lead is a one sentenced synoposis, written in the past tense that conveys a time frame and it can answer questions like who, what, when, where, why and how.

After filtering through countless articles on the New York Times website, I found an article titled, At Least 18 Killed as Trains Collide in Los Angeles that exemplifies a summary lead.

The first sentence in past tense describes who: a commuter train, what: collided, when: during rush-hour on Friday, where: Los Angeles and why as well as how is further explained in the rest of the article.

In all, the jest of a summary lead is to introduce what the article is about.

So what is a short report?

A short report is news that is written within two to three sentences and they come in four different structures such as online or broadcast bulletins, e-mail alerts, crawlers and newsbriefs.

The best example I could find of a short report is displayed in the Baltimore Sun article, Security may put an end to single-scientists labs.

The article actually contains four sentences, but it could still be considered a newsbrief that describes new safety precautions to ban scientist from working alone with hazardous pathogens.

Overall, a report does not have to be long and lengthy to be informative, certain news can simply be explained in a few sentences.

No comments: