Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Feature Leads V. Summary Leads

Feature leads and summary leads differ from one another in many ways. First of all, a summary lead is "written in past tense and includes a time element" (All the News, Thom Lieb). They are straight forward and not as creative as a feature lead would be. They are blunt and get straight to the point. They provide the who, what, when, where, why and how for the story that follows. Lieb gives four criteria that makes up a summary lead:
1.) Be very specific: focused not general.
2.) Avoid backing in: no introductory clauses.
3.)Be concise: 30 words or less.
4.) Use active voice: subject, verb, object.

Feature leads however, are more original, less rigid. They are like putting cinnamon in oatmeal, they add flavor and keep you wanting more. They do not necessarily adhere to the rules that accompany lead writing. They do not always tell the 5 w's and h. Their soul purpose is to entice the reader and keep them reading on. There are four main types of feature leads (although even some feature leads do not fit into these categories):
1.) Anecdotal Leads: where the writer will start off with an antedote that introduces their story and makes the point simple and clear.
2.)Narrative leads: includes dialogue or quotes to set up a scene.
3.) descriptive leads: entice the senses and are based on a specific person, place or group.
4.) Question leads: Yep! you guessed it, they start with a question.
5.) The other feature leads: all those that can not fit in a specific category, the rebellious leads.
Examples: "Thom Brown for 'Ladies Loosen Up!'" By: Cintra Wilson (New York Times).
"When Air Time is Play Time," By: Scott Jones (New York Times).

1 comment:

jatwater said...

I like the cinnamon in your oatmeal comment. :)