Week 8 Writing (29/3): Leads & headlines

woman standing in front of mocked up newspaper posters
“Headline News – The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition – Jun 2018” by Gareth1953 All Right Now is licensed under CC BY 2.0



Headlines are a way of grabbing the reader’s attention. In fact, a study has shown that almost 60 per cent of people will share a link having only read the headline.

WATCH: this Al Jazeera video on the changing nature of headlines over time:

Writing a good headline is an art, a skill that sub-editors have developed over years of practice. However, today journalists often need to write their own eye-catching headlines themselves.

READ: How to create the perfect headline and according to the BBC.

TASK: Take a news story from the ABC, and create a new headline for it for a different publication, say for the Herald Sun.

Lead (or Lede)

DISCUSS: What’s the difference between a headline and a lead?

A lead should contain the hook that continues to grab the reader’s attention after reading the headline.

The lead should follow the inverted pyramid style, and contain as much as possible of the newsworthy elements of the story:

    • Where
    • Why
    • What
    • When
    • How

DISCUSS: How would the lead for a news story differ from that of a feature story?

READ: Articles on writing good leads and different types of leads.

DISCUSS: read your lead out in class.

Did you find this task difficult? Why?


Final stories and reflections are due today.

Let’s read other’s work, make suggestions, edit

Use the rest of the time to complete final stories for the Assessment 1 task in class.

Author: veritychambers

Journalist and teacher

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