Sunday, September 14, 2008 0 comments

Leads and Short Reports from Recent Baltimore Sun Articles

Photo Taken from Google Images
Article Title (9/14/08): Code Red Heat Alert Issued for Today

Short Report:
With high humidity and temperatures forecast in the mid-90s today, the city has issued a Code Red heat alert and plans to open emergency cooling centers. Six centers, operated by the city Housing Department, will open at 10:30 a.m. They include: Northern Community Action Center, 5225 York Road; Southern Community Action Center, 606 Cherry Hill Road (inside the shopping center on the second floor); Northwest Community Action Center, 3314 Ayrdale Ave.; Western Community Action Center, 1133 Pennsylvania Ave.; Southeastern Community Action Center, 3411 Bank St.; and Eastern Community Action Center, 1400 E. Federal St. Residents can also go to Recreation and Parks centers throughout the city for relief from the heat, officials said. The Baltimore City Health Department recommends that residents check on older, sick, or frail people in the community who may need help.
Story taken from The Baltimore Sun (

Story Lead:
BEIJING - China's health minister blamed a dairy yesterday for the delay in warning the public about tainted milk powder linked to kidney stones in infants and at least one death, as authorities increased the number of known sick babies to 432.

What is a Lead??? What is a short report???

Illustration and explanation by: Daniel Gross

  • A lead or lede in journalism is generally the beginning sentences to a news story. This is where the journalist attempts to write the most newsworthy portion of the story, usually including a number of the five W's (who, what, where, where and why.) The lead to a story is found at the very top of the story and is read before anything else.
Now, what you'll find is that in many stories, the writer does not always fit each of the five W's into the lead but saves some of them for later down the story. This is where the most prevalent information and story relevant sentences are found.

In my example, The Associated Press explains a situation in China where the health minister has blamed a dairy for not making proper warning to the public about certain milk causing kidney stones. The lead gives the reader a general idea of what the story will entail and what it is concerning. This lead chooses to cover the who, what, where and when of the story but does not explain the why until later. Still, it gives enough information to segway into further details.

  • A short report can mean a number of specific things relating to a news story. Much of this is depending upon the source of media you are reading the news story from as well as the level of interest the story has. The short report is usually only a few sentences. It usually gives some interesting lines that will draw the reader in to let them know the basis of what has happened. It doesn't necessarily give a full outline of the story but it gives out something interesting to make the story appealing.
These shorts can also be used to get small pieces of information out before having the actual full story completed. This could be the case for some breaking news or news alert where there is something happening but the story is still being developed. The shorts can also be used for stories that don't necessarily deem full coverage. In the example, The Sun posted a weather alert to explain the heat advisory. There was no interviewing or investigating involved with this story. It was simply posted to alert the public and provide useful general information.