What Is A Punch Lead?

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A punch lead is often used in journalism articles opening a story with facts that attract readers’ attention.

With a punch lead, attention is attracted by concentrating on a brief sentence and developing details later in the story.

It’s a blunt, explosive statement to summarize the article.

The punch lead is most often used in news stories and can be used in news features where you want to convey a hard-hitting message to the readers or reveal some high-voltage piece of information.

Writing leads like the conventional or summary lead, especially in the beginning paragraph, can be fun but can provide challenges.

So what is a lead, and which one is best to use?

Common Examples In A News Story

Some examples of punch leads are:

  • The Linns called for a pizza, but their pizza delivery man turned out to be so much more.

  • President Kennedy was slain by an assassin today in a burst of gunfire in downtown Dallas.

  • Victory Day! Magsaysay High School celebrated on March 18 its fifth Victory in the city-wide journalism contest.

What Is A Lead/Routine Lead?

Every news story begins with an introduction called a “lead,” reminding you that this could be a single word, phrase, a brief sentence, an entire paragraph, or a series of paragraphs.

A lead (or an intro) is the beginning paragraph of a story. The lead should reflect the mood of the story. A routine lead is a short summary of an event.

The main function of the lead is not only to introduce the news story but also to give the reader questions.

Contrast Lead

The idea of leading a story with contrast isn’t new – it’s a technique for introducing a story that you learn in any basic journalism class. And it’s called a contrast lead.

The contrast lead compares two opposites. For example, a contrast lead might compare poverty and wealth, stress and relaxation, or the new with the old.

For example, “Four months before the beautification and cleanup drive, zone 15 in Tondo, Manila was the dirtiest district. Three months after, it won first place in the CLEAN contest sponsored by the Department of Community and Local Government.”

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What Leads Do Newspapers Use?

Newspapers use three types of leads. These three major classifications have their own lead types.

  • Summary lead/Traditional Lead

  • Grammatical Beginning Lead

  • Novelty Lead

What Is A Conventional Or Summary Lead?

Summary leads are considered traditional, but may be overwhelming for more complex stories.

Leads that use as a hook one of the news questions, i.e., where the news took place, are also popular for organizing information for the reader.

What Is A Grammatical Beginning Lead?

Sometimes, the lead is introduced by a kind of grammatical form, which is usually a phrase or a clause used to emphasize a feature.

Here, the important W’s are found in the main clause, not the introductory or subordinate clause, which is just a modifying feature.

What Are Novelty Leads?

After reading the lead, a novelty lead encourages readers to continue with the story.

What Is A Picture Lead/Descriptive Lead?

This lead describes a person, a place, or an event and, at the same time, creates a mental picture of the subject matter in the mind of the reader.

Descriptive in nature, these leads are best used in writing news features.

Examples include:

  • The new principal although only in his early thirties, is already silver-haired. He seldom talks, but when he does, he talks with sense.

  • Dressed in white Polo Barong, and with Diploma in their hands, 1,500 graduates marched down the stage to the tune of Osmena High March.

Where Lead

This lead is used when the place is unique, and no prominent person is involved in the story.

An example would be: “The Philippines will be the site of the next Miss Universe Contest.”

When Lead

Rarely used as the reader presumes the story to be timely. However, this lead is useful when speaking of deadlines, holidays, and important dates. It attracts the reader’s attention.

Examples include:

  • Today, almost to the hour, Revolutionary Government was proclaimed by former President Joseph Estrada.

  • The NSAT will be given on Nov. 24 to all graduating High School students desiring to enroll in a four-year college course. Your dominant side should be coiled and ready to throw the punch. Thus, Hi-Y president Lina Jr of Osmena High School ordered to start the “Walk for Health” fundraising drive.

  • The PNU campus was turned into a miniature carnival ground on September 1 during the 104th F-Day Celebration of the University. Decorated with buntings and multi-colored lights, the quadrangle was a grand setting for a barrio fiesta.

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Parody Lead

These leads consist of a parody of a well-known song, poem, or line.

An example would be: “Water, water everywhere, but no water to drink. This was what the food victims found in their dismay.”

What Is An Anecdotal Lead?

The anecdotal lead is used when the anecdote is bright and applicable and not too wasteful of space.

It brings the reader quickly into a news situation that might not attract his attention if it were routinely written.

Gerundial Phrase Lead

This lead is introduced by a gerund (a verbal noun ending in “-ing”).

An example would be: “Winning the development communication trophy, during the national press conference was Arrullo High School’s best achievement of the year.”

What Is A Question Lead?

This is an answer to a question that is the basis of the news story.

An example would be: “Who will reign as Miss Intramurals this year? This will be known on Aug. 8 after the final screening held at the PNU Gym and Performing Arts Center.”

Blind Lead

A blind lead is a summary lead that leaves out any confusing detail. Names, numbers, Etc.

Analogy Lead

This lead compares an issue or event and something else a reader may be more familiar with.

What Is A Creative Lead?

The purpose of the creative lead is to capture readers’ interest where a summary lead might not.

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Single Item Lead

This lead focuses on just one or two elements of a summary lead. The purpose is to pack a bigger punch than a summary lead.

Short Sentence Lead

A short sentence lead uses one word or a short phrase as a teaser, with the rest of the lead appearing later. This is often considered gimmicky, so only use it now and then.

Cartridge Lead

A cartridge lead is a variation of the summary lead. It’s brief and contains one news incident.

Quotation Lead

A quotation lead uses a direct or indirect quotation from a source to grab the reader’s attention.

Delayed Identification Lead

The “who” is not identified right away in this lead because it isn’t deemed as important (for example, a member on the school board punched the president).

Instead, a descriptive pronoun is used to describe the person, and his title and specific name are revealed in a later paragraph.

Which Lead Should I Use?

There are many different strategies for writing a good lead and many differing opinions, but the strongest opinion is that they are complex and take time.

Don’t plan on rushing a good lead.

Now that you know how to draw people in, you have to develop a strategy to find those people.

Kennected helps you generate leads automatically through various digital solutions through LinkedIn.

With a few clicks, you’ll have up to 100 connection requests daily to build your network and develop leads.

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