To find a lead that will work, first consider the focus or the theme of your story. Here are some questions to help you think about your theme:
- Can I put a human face on the story? (effective persuasion involves appeals both to emotion and intellect, not just one or the other)
- What one thing does the reader need to know more than any other?
- Can you think of an anecdote that captures the essence of the story?
- Can you think of an image that illustrates the meaning of the story?
- Can you peg your piece to a relevant anniversary or annual event?
- How will this news impact the average reader in their daily life?
- Can you think of a metaphor to capture the story?
- Does a quote tell the story, whether historical or contemporary?
- Why did this story happen?
- What important questions must be answered?
- What concrete examples illustrate the significance of the issue?
- What is the history behind the story?
- What are the key problems to be solved in writing this story?
Some examples of engaging anecdotal leads
There was a rule, back when I was an education lawyer in a poor area, about visiting public schools: always go on a rainy day, so you can see how badly the roofs leak.
If there’s a negative health statistic floating out there, you can bet Nevada is attached to it: alcoholism, teen pregnancy, compulsive gambling, suicide, smoking, we’ve got it all.
See AMIBA’s guide to effective op-ed writing
See more tips and examples from the Op-ed ProjectPrint This Page