Every news story begins with a lead, the most important part of the story.
A good lead to needs to catch the reader’s interest and make them want to read the rest of the story.
Less is often better as it helps you get your point across quickly.
Think Twitter’s 140 character limit.
Social media can help you become a better writer.
Lesson Plan: Lead Writing
- Student will learn to write effective leads using 140 characters or less.
- Students will identify the lead sentence of three stories taken from a newspaper article. Students will explain why a particular sentence was chosen as the first sentence, why it is important, and what makes it interesting.
- Students will write at least 10 questions (no yes-no questions) and spend 15-20 minutes interviewing a fellow classmate. Their assignment is to gather information that will be used in a future assignment to write a short bio about their classmate.
- After completing the interview, students will think about how they want to begin their story. Students will identify the most important and/or most interesting piece of information. Students will write a short sentence (140 characters or less) using the 5Ws and H to write an informative and interesting lead.
- Students will be given three short articles and will identify the strongest and weakest lead and explain why it is strong or weak. In addition, they will explain what catches their attention when they pick up a newspaper, what makes them want to read a story, what makes a story interesting, and what can cause readers to lose interest in a story.
- Pens or pencils
A photograph is worth a thousand words. Which means the viewer could potentially see a thousand different messages. This is problematic because the viewer might get the wrong message.
It is important to write strong photo captions. Effective captions help the viewer see the intended message.
Lesson Plan: Caption Writing
Students will learn about what makes a great caption and will learn about the 5W’s and H of journalism writing. Suggested time allowance is 40 minutes.
- Examine a picture for details.
- Write questions they need answered about the picture.
- Create captions appropriate for a picture.
- Know what information they need in order to create a caption.
- Write more captions appropriate for other pictures.
- Hold up various front pages of local newspapers and ask students what they look at first. Most will say the pictures or artwork on the page.
- Next, show them a picture on the overhead without a caption. Have them guess what the caption would tell them. What else would they like to know from looking at the picture?
- Students will find five photographs and identify and label the parts (5Ws and H) of the caption.
- Students will be handed three photographs without a caption. Now they are to create captions for the images. They will identify people and explain the photo without telling the obvious. They will also include other background info.
Create a caption for a photograph, using the “5Ws and H” to identify people and explain the photo without telling the obvious. Students will be graded based on creativity, structure and content.
- Pens or pencils
- Newspapers and magazines with examples of pictures and captions