Once you have finished the reading, you are ready for the Journalist.
Before you write, know your point:
What is this reading about?
Why is it important?
Like in a newspaper article, lead with the biggest idea.
An Effective Overview:
3 Sentences Long
1) Lead Sentence – Tells the most important summary information about the reading. Answers 5 W’s concisely.
2) Second Sentence – A brief expansion of the Lead.
3) Final sentence – Gives a brief summary of some of the examples from the reading that provide evidence for the lead.
Write in a focused, simple, clear structure that gets you right back into your thought processes when you need to respond. You won’t be able to remember all the information that poured through your head while you read. The overview becomes your mental bookmark for regaining your understanding.
The Journalist allows you to participate actively in discussion or in written responses.
The Journalist’s Alternative
Quick Write for Persuasive Interaction
Build a TREE (Woolfolk, 2016)
Topic sentence: Tell what you believe
Reasons: Tell three or more reasons why you believe it. Will your readers/listeners believe this?
Ending: Wrap it up!
Examine: Check for all three parts.
How to Write A Lead (Purdue)
How to Write a Lead (Cub Reporters)
10 Tips for Writing Leads by Don Bates, an instructor in writing at NYU and the founding director of the master’s degree program in Strategic Public Relations at the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University
- Focus on the five W’s: who, what, when, where and why.
- Before writing, decide which aspects of story are most important. Emphasize these aspects.
- Explain the less important aspects in the second or third sentence.
- Be as specific as possible.
- If your lead is too broad, it won’t inform.
- Minimize hyperbole, the bane of PR writing.
- Be brief. Readers want to know why your story matters to them and won’t wait long for answer. Leads are typically one sentence, often two, and 25-30 words [rarely more than 40].
- Use active sentences. Strong verbs make leads lively and interesting. Passive constructions sound dull and leave out important information, such as the person who caused the action.
- Consider the audience’s knowledge. In today’s media culture, most readers don’t need a lot of background. Context is key.
- Be credible. A lead paragraph is an implicit promise to readers. Deliver what you promise.