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Lead Writing Checklist   arrow

Checklist for Writing the First Paragraph (lead)

  • The lead is specific and compelling—not vague and abstract or statement of opinion, but is clear, concise and easy to understand.
  • Complete sentences and proper tenses have been used.
  • Simple sentence structure; long phrases or clauses avoided.
  • The lead is concise. If the lead exceeds four typed lines—rewrite it.
  • The lead begins with the main reason for the story.
  • The lead is of local interest and current to today’s news.
  • Strong, active and descriptive verbs have been used. Passive verbs such as “is, are, was and were” are avoided.
  • Every name that appears in the lead is essential. No names that require lengthy identification later in the story have been used.
  • Proper identification, such as titles, have been used with names.