Lead Story

Newspapers Lead Story generally adhere to an expository writing style. Over time and place, journalism ethics and standards have varied in the degree of objectivity or sensationalism they incorporate. It is considered unethical not to attribute a scoop to the journalist(s) who broke a story, even if they are employed by a rival organization. Definitions of professionalism differ among news agencies; their reputations, according to both professional standards and reader expectations, are often tied to the appearance of objectivity. In its most ideal form, news writing strives to be intelligible to the majority of readers, engaging, and succinct. Within these limits, news stories also aim to be comprehensive. However, other factors are involved, some stylistic and some derived from the media form.

Among the larger and more respected newspapers, fairness and balance is a major factor in presenting a Lead Story. Commentary is usually confined to a separate section, though each paper may have a different overall slant. Editorial policies dictate the use of adjectives, euphemisms, and idioms. Newspapers with an international audience, for example, tend to use a more formal style of writing.

The specific choices made by a news outlet’s editor or editorial board are often collected in a style guide; common style guides include the AP Stylebook and the US News Style Book. The main goals of news writing can be summarized by the ABCs of journalism: accuracy, brevity, and clarity.[2]