A two-minute course from News University
3 guidelines for writing breaking-news leads
In an age in which technology gives us the ability to publish anytime, anywhere, on any platform, it can be tricky to choose the best lead–especially when the news is breaking.
Here are some guidelines to make sure your story is the one your audience chooses.
- Did the story just happen?
- Are you the first to report it, or will most of your audience already know about it?
- Is the time element crucial?
- Will your audience get the news from you first?
- If they already know the news, would they be better served with a lead that anticipates their knowledge?
- Are you the only news organization that has the story? Scoops once counted for more when several newspapers published in a city. Now the competition is from TV, online, social–you name it. If there is a story that only you have, you might want to tell readers it is an exclusive.
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Poynter faculty teach in newsrooms, classrooms and conference rooms all around the world. Since 2014, we have forged training partnerships with more than 20 major media and educational organizations including Gannett, McClatchy, Google, AP, National Geographic and Univision. From training programs for your entire organization to individual coaching, we can create programs to focus on your specific training needs.
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A global leader in journalism. Strengthening democracy.
The Poynter Story
Since its founding in 1975, The Poynter Institute has had one goal: to elevate journalism. More than 40 years later, our role in strengthening democracy has never been more important.
Each year, Poynter reaches thousands of journalists around the world through a combination of seminars in St. Petersburg and around the globe, e-learning courses through News University, our news and information site on Poynter.org, and much much more. Last year alone, we trained journalists from 126 countries and have forged training partnerships with more than 20 major media organizations, including Gannett, Google, National Geographic and Univision.
For 40 years, The Poynter Institute has had one goal: to make journalism better. Whether you’re a journalist working in a newsroom, an entrepreneur looking to scale your startup, an educator looking for resources to help you and your students, or a media organization seeking a training partner, Poynter can help.
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Poynter offers a variety of events that help members of the community better understand issues surrounding journalism and the people who produce it. Speakers have ranged from political contributor and strategist Ana Navarro, to satirist and author Andy Borowitz, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, and a number of Pulitzer Prize winners including David Barstow of The New York Times, Tim Nickens and Dan Ruth of the Tampa Bay Times, and David Maraniss of The Washington Post.
Poynter regularly brings together media executives, journalists, technologists and academics to share ideas and expertise focused on the future of news. From audience engagement and mobile newsgathering to issues of sustainable news models, you’ll hear robust discussion around the intersection of journalism, technology and the public interest.
Poynter In the News
From launching our International Fact-Checking Network, to celebrating the Centennial of the Pulitzer Prizes, to training international journalists in the Edward R. Murrow program, the reach and impact of Poynter stretches from your local newsroom to a global community.
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