• Relates a person or event to
  some character or event in
• To have been ordered into
  battle to attack a group of
  windmills with horse and
  lance would have seemed to
  Joe Robinson no more
  strange an assignment than
  the one given to him
  Thursday by Miss Vera
  Newton . . . (The literary
  allusion is to Don Quixote.)

                          FEATURE LEADS   1
• Relates a person or event to
  some character or event in
• Napoleon had his Waterloo.
  George Custer had his Little Big
  Horn. Fortunately, Napoleon
  and Custer faced defeat only
  once. For Bjorn Borg, the finals
  of the U.S. Tennis Open have
  become a stumbling block of
  titanic proportions.
• Washington's trip across the
  Delaware was child's play
  compared with Dave Jason's
  span of the Big Lick River.
  Astride a six-foot log, he
  chopped his way across the ice-
  bogged river yesterday.

                             FEATURE LEADS   2
• Compares extremes - the big
  with the little, the comedy
  with the tragedy, age with
  youth, rich and poor - if such
  comparison is applicable to
  the news event.
• His wealth is estimated at
  $600 million. He controls a
  handful of corporations,
  operating in more than 20
  nations. Yet he carries his
  lunch to work in a brown
  paper bag and wears the
  latest fashions from Sears
  and Roebuck's bargain

                           FEATURE LEADS   3
• Uses a pun, a clever
  or quirky play on
• Western High's trash
  collectors have been
  down in the dumps

                  FEATURE LEADS   4
        DESCRIPTION: (Site)
• Uses vivid word choice to create
  an immediate sense of setting.
• The road to Nsukka in eastern
  Nigeria is rutted and crumpled,
  the aging asphalt torn like
  ragged strips of tar paper. In the
  midday heat, diesel trucks
  hauling cassava and market
  women to the next town kick
  up clouds of fine yellow-orange
  dust that lingers in the air.
        Strings of one-story
  cement buildings in dull pastels
  with brooding eaves hug the
  roadside here and there
  marking small pinpoints of
  commerce; hand-lettered signs
  proclaim the "Decency Food
  Canteen," "God's Time Hotel,"
  "Praise the Lord Watch
                               FEATURE LEADS   5
    DESCRIPTION: (Person)
•   Uses vivid word choice to create an
    immediate sense of character.
•   Diana Ross is wearing no lipstick.
    She is lounging around on a hot and
    muggy late afternoon. The windows
    are raised high throughout her Fifth
    Avenue apartment. She is dressed in
    black short shorts and a matching
    sleeveless blouse that plunges low
    in the front. She is also wearing
    fishnet stockings and burgundy
    suede boots.
           She is 37 years old, divorced,
    the mother of three children, who
    this afternoon are out at the
    country house in Connecticut.
           She leans back and puts her
    hand to her forehead. "There's just
    so much I don't know about. It's so
    funny. I was really a pampered,
    chaperoned, protected teenager - all
    the way through my twenties. I'm
    just now beginning to take on
    responsibility. And it's time. It's
    right. It's in order. I finally know it's
    not healthy to be pampered.“
                                      FEATURE LEADS   6
      DESCRIPTION: (Event)
•   Uses vivid word choice to create an
    immediate sense of plot.
•   The air inside the darkened gymnasium is
    heavy with the heat of an uncommonly
    prolonged North Carolina summer. Smoke
    from some tin containers placed around the
    basketball court lends a touch of mystery to
    the scene.
           The thick smoke rolls into the intense
    light of floor-level arc lamps, then up
    against a raft of lights hovering like a Steven
    Spielberg spaceship. Out of the dark, a
    white-clad figure appears, bounding a
           Michael Jordan drives for the basket
    in one of his many crowd-pleasing moves,
    ball tucked under his arm, then scooped up
    and over into the hoop. All of the way to
    the basket, Jordan's tongue sticks out,
    curled up in an expression of pure joy at his
    defiance not only of imaginary defenders
    but of gravity itself.

                                    FEATURE LEADS     7
• Uses a blunt, explosive
  statement to summarize
  the most important idea
  then follows with more
• The dream is over.
      Following a
  crushing loss to
  conference rivals…
• The Beatles are back!
      Thousands of
  screaming fans stood
  outside of record
                     FEATURE LEADS   8
               ONE WORD
• Uses a blunt, explosive
  word to summarize the
  most important idea
  then follows with more
• Relentless.
       According to
  coaches, that's the best
  term to describe Rattlers
  midfielder Gloria
  Grissom, who helped
  the girls soccer team to
  its 15th consecutive win
  Friday night.

                       FEATURE LEADS   9
• Employ ingenious novelty to
  attract the reader's eye. This list
  can be extended indefinitely, to
  the extent of the reporter's
  writing ability and imagination
  (tempered only by accuracy and
• For sale: one elephant.
        The City Park Commission
  is thinking about inserting that
  ad in the newspaper. A
  curtailed budget makes it
  impossible to care for "Bobo", a
  half-grown elephant lodged in
  special quarters at Westdale

                                FEATURE LEADS   10
            PARODY LEAD
• Mimics a well-known
  proverb, quotation or
• Whisky, whisky
  everywhere, but 'nary a
  drop to drink.
       Such was the case
  at the City Police Station
  yesterday when officers
  poured 100 gallons of
  bootleg moonshine into
  the sewer.

                        FEATURE LEADS   11
• Speaks directly to the
  reader on a subject of
  widespread interest or
  appeal, most effective
  WITHOUT using “you.”
• Do not expect any pity
  from the weatherman
  today. He forecasts a
  continuation of the
  bitter Arctic cold wave
  that has gripped the
  city for a week.

                      FEATURE LEADS   12
• Consists of a series of jerky,
  exciting phrases, separated
  by dashes or dots.
• Midnight on the bridge . . .a
  scream . . .a shot . . .a splash .
  . .a second shot . . .a third
        This morning, police
  recovered the bodies of Mr.
  and Mrs. R. E. Murphy,
  estranged couple, from the
  Snake River. A bullet wound
  was found in the temple of

                               FEATURE LEADS   13
             ANECDOTAL LEAD
•   Uses an event to represent the universal
    experience or theme of the story.
•   It was 1965, and the Dallas Cowboys
    were making good use out of an end-
    around play to Frank Clarke, averaging
    17 yards every time a young coach
    named Tom Landry pulled it out of his
    expanding bag of tricks.
           One day, Clint Murchison, owner
    of the Cowboys, wondered aloud in
    Landry's presence how successful the
    play might be if Bob Hayes rather than
    Clarke ran with the ball. Hayes, after all,
    was the world's fastest human.
           "Tom gave a lot of mumbo-jumbo
    about weak and strong side, and I
    nodded sagely and walked away,"
    Murchison told the Dallas Morning News
    three years ago.
    A few weeks later, Landry called a
    reverse. Bob Hayes got the ball. "We lost
    yardage," Landry recalled this week, "and
    I haven't heard from Clint since.“

                                        FEATURE LEADS   14
•   Places the reader in the midst of
•   Trainer Eddie Gregson was walking
    10 feet behind his Kentucky Derby
    horse, Gato del Sol, when they
    emerged from the quiet of the
    stable area at Churchill Downs and
    began that long trek around the
    clubhouse turn toward the saddling
           There were 141,009 people
    packed into the Downs last
    Saturday afternoon - a warm, bright
    day in Louisville - and thousands
    lined the clubhouse turn, a few
    yelling at Gregson as the colt strode
           "What's the name of your
           Less than an hour later, that
    nameless horse stood in the
    champion's ring.
                                   FEATURE LEADS   15
                 THEN AND NOW
•   Uses descriptions of the same person,
    place, or thing at different times to show
    change or consistency.
•   The Rio Grande once flowed through
    here, a wide and robust river surging
    between steep banks as it followed a
    southward course hugging the state's
    curvy profile.
            No more.
            Four-plus years of drought in West
    Texas and the neighboring Mexican state
    of Chihuahua have turned the storied
    river into a trickle meandering through
    mud and gravel fields adorned here and
    there with discarded tires.
•   The year was 1964. Lyndon Johnson had
    swept into the White House by the
    largest landside victory in American
    history. The Beatles owned the Top Ten.
    And a 23-year old ex-Marine opened up a
    small westside Mexican restaurant.
            Today, Luis Alvarado is a
    millionaire many times over, and his
    restaurants are found in cities from
    Boston to Austin to San Diego.

                                       FEATURE LEADS   16
•   Serves best when a problem with reader appeal is the crux of the
    story. The question should have direct relevance to the reader - not a
    cliché like, "Have you ever been poor?“
•   You think you have it bad? Consider Ron Mullens.
            Once vice president of a major real estate corporation, he is
    today penniless. Once married to a beautiful model, he now wanders
    the back roads of America alone in search of a smile and whatever
    odd jobs fall his way. You think Ron Mullens is upset by this turn of
    events? Not on your life. "I gave it all up - the money, the glamour, the
    security - for the opportunity to see America as it really is," he said.
•   Are you tired of hormone as cultural myth, as shorthand for swagger
    and machismo, ferocity and obnoxiousness, the bearskin beneath the
    three-piece suit?
            Do the ubiquitous references to "testosterone poisoning" and
    "testosterone shock," to "testosterone-fueled heavy metal" and
    "testosterone-crazed oppressors" make you feel a bit, well, testy? Do
    you think it unfair to blame one lousy chemical for war, dictatorships,
    crime, Genghis Khan, Gunga Din, Sly Stallone, the NRA, the NFL,
    Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf, and the tendency to interrupt in the
    middle of a sentence?
            Ready to give the so-called male hormone a break and return
    all testosterone clichés with a single pound of a drum?
            As it turns out, testosterone might not be the dread "hormone
    of aggression" that researchers and popular imagination have long
    had it. It might not be the substance that drives men to behave with
    quintessential guyness, to posture, push, yelp, belch, punch and play
    If anything, researchers say this most frightened of hormones might
    be a source of very different sensations: calmness, happiness and
    friendliness, for example.
                                             FEATURE LEADS                      17
•   As a general rule, avoid quote leads.
    When used, the quote should be dynamic
    and capture the theme of the story. The
    following lead comes from a story about
    Joely Fisher, who played Paige Clark on
    the TV series, Ellen.
•   "People usually have two completely
    different opinions of what my life must
    have been like growing up," said the
    actress Joely Fisher, 28, a child of the
    short (1967-69), unhappy union between
    Connie Stevens, the sex kitten of 1950s
    TV, and Eddie Fisher, the singer and
    former matinee idol.           "Half think it
    must have been so difficult, and the rest
    believe I got everything I ever wanted,"
    added Fisher. "I see my life as wacky yet
           She was raised in a mansion in
    Beverly Hills and was well-fed, well-
    educated and well-traveled. so what was
    the problem? An absentee father was a
    self-confessed drug addict and a mother
    whom Fisher describes as a "sexpot."

                                         FEATURE LEADS   18