Recrafting leads


Apologies for the tardy post, but you’ll recall that on Thursday Katherine asked each of you to pick one of the leads that you’ve written this summer and rewrite it to make it better. You might also want to discuss briefly why you thought the original lead just didn’t work that well, particularly in light of the tips and ideas Katherine shared with you last week.

So, please post below the headline for the story you selected, the lead as it ran in your original story, and then the new and improved version.

For extra credit, try writing a tweet (as part of your blog post) promoting your story. Remember that a tweet should do more than say: “Hey, I wrote this story and you should read it.” It should delve a little deeper into the content and share with the reader something they wouldn’t get from headline or the lead. And it should be fun.

Thanks for playing. Go.

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15 Responses to Recrafting leads

  1. 3C Style says:

    That is a good exercise. Do that every day for the newspaper I work as a scientific journalist.

  2. Monique Woo says:

    Headline: Faith Voices of Columbia hosts training for immigrant support

    Old: COLUMBIA — Faith Voices of Columbia, a network of local congregations, will host a training for accompaniment volunteers at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Trinity Presbyterian Church.

    New: COLUMBIA — Undocumented immigrants and refugees are in need of volunteers to accompany them to government check-ins, so Faith Voices of Columbia has stepped in to help.

  3. Headline: Columbia City Council might end licensing requirements for cats
    Original Lead: Columbia is littered with unlicensed cats, and the City Council is trying to determine whether to drop the licensing requirement.
    New Lead: Columbia City Council finally got their paws on the Board of Health’s recommended updates for the licensing and impoundment requirements for cats and dogs.

    I know we already went over this lead in class, but I chose it for my rewrite because I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I really stand by what I originally wrote. I think the verb “littered” is the best choice in this situation, and what really convinced me of it was the example we looked at in class that used the verb “ransacked.” I think there is leniency with verbs that have multiple meanings and whether or not they are effective depends on the context of the story. And, personally, I’m not a big fan of using “crawling” here because it makes me think of bugs or babies. I’ve never really looked at my cats and thought they were crawling. But again, I think it depends on the context of the story and whether or not you are aiming to make a pun or just use imagery.

    Here are some other options. They are mostly jokes. They are all of the cat puns I can possibly think of right meow:
    -The City Council is on the prowl for how to solve Columbia’s cat licensing problem.
    -The City Council might nip cat licensing in Columbia.
    -Columbia City Council is scratching at its chance to end cat licensing.
    -The Board of Health unleashes its recommendations for updates to cat licensing requirements.
    -Most of the Columbia City Council seemed to be wagging their tails at the Board of Health’s recommendations for the licensing of cats with the exception of Michael Trapp. (He’s the one that made the “environmental menace” comment.)

    Improved Tweet: Didn’t know your cat needed to be licensed? Well, you may not have to worry about it anymore! (With a picture of a kitten or something)

    More puns that could be tweets because I’m having too much fun:
    -You’ve cat to be kitten me?! Licensing requirements for cats might end?
    -Are you lion about your cat being licensed? No need to worry.
    -No need to feel like a cheetah for not licensing your cats!
    -Get your paws on this clause! Check out the possible updates to the ordinance for cat and dog licensing.

  4. MNagel says:

    The original lede: “The owner of Fretboard Coffee hopes to complete an expansion of the business by late June.”

    Updated lede: “Updates at Fretboard Coffee will allow more coffee to be catered to its customers.”

    Accompanying tweet: “More room, more drinks and more miles to come after completion of Fretboard Coffee expansions.”

  5. Headline: Skateboarders thrive at Shred Fest

    OG Lede: Skateboarders flocked to Cosmo Park on Saturday afternoon for Shred Fest, the annual skateboarding event that has taken place there for more than a decade.

    Fresh Lede: Joey Gilmore — green Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts, worn out Vans sneakers — rolled up to Cosmopolitan Park and paused.

    When he first started skating here 20 years ago, skaters were seen as outsiders, people more likely to find trouble than other kids. Now he was looking at Shred Fest, an event sponsored by Columbia Parks and Recreation that embraced just how positive the subculture can be.

    Tweet: *to the tune of Avril Lavigne* he was a skater boy, she said see you later boy, they would go meet up at Shred Fest… *link*

  6. lucyshanker says:

    Original: Artist Allison Norfleet Bruenger teared up after a customer arrived at her tent, saying she had come to the fest just for her work.

    Rewritten: Tears mixed with the sweat rolling down Artist Allison Norfleet Bruenger’s cheeks. It was 95 degrees, and a customer had braved the heat just for her work.

    I think the rewritten starts off as more of a narrative. In the original, it starts with the artist’s name which is a little slow. In the new one, it begins with sort of an emotional unveil or sorts, which I hope would draw the reader in.

    Possible tweet: Tears of joy at Stephen’s Lake Park as artists return for art festival

  7. maureenatmizzou says:

    Headline: Matthes lauds declines in crime rate, bemoans economic woes in State of the City Address
    Original lede: City Manager Mike Matthes during his State of the City Address on Wednesday lauded shrinking gaps in social inequality and declining crime in strategic parts of Columbia. But he bemoaned economic woes that have come with the rise of online shopping and an erosion of the sales tax base.
    Updated lede: Shrinking gaps in social inequality and declining crime were at the forefront of City Manager Mike Matthes’ State of the City Address on Wednesday. But he bemoaned economic woes that have come with the rise of online shopping and an erosion of the sales tax base.
    Tweet: Columbia is making strides with crime and social equality, but falling behind online retail. Find out more here:

  8. Original Lede: City staff are studying how to implement a tobacco retail license to pay for better enforcement of the city’s Tobacco 21 ordinance.

    New Lede: City staff are studying how to better fund the city’s nearly unenforced Tobacco 21 ordinance.

    Possible Tweet: City considers tobacco retail licensing to fund better enforcement of Tobacco 21 ordinance.

  9. Headline: Harold’s Doughnuts to open second location on south side of town this fall

    Original lede: A second, bigger location for Harold’s Doughnuts is set to open at 204 E. Nifong Blvd. this fall.

    New lede: Harold’s Doughnuts is planning on supplying doughnut lovers with more of their hand-crafted creations at a second bigger, location set to open at 204 E. Nifong Blvd. this fall.

    Why the original wasn’t great: It is very dry and kind of boring. It doesn’t really capture my attention.

    Tweet: Donut give up, Harold’s is going to be making more doughnuts starting this fall.

  10. Gabby says:

    Original lede: The severity of the sting of substantial budget cuts at MU became more clear Thursday when the campus released a detailed report of the cuts that were made.

    New lede: Details emerged about MU’s substantial budget cuts in a 40-page document released Thursday, but they did little to lessen the sting of multiple layoffs and program cuts.

    Tweet: 40 pages. 343 layoffs. 1 campus left with uncertainty.

  11. jiwoncjourn says:

    Headline: Historical aircraft come to Columbia to celebrate veterans
    The original lede: “The “Vampire” soared and flashed across the clear morning sky above the Columbia Regional Airport tarmac. The world’s first single jet fighter made an ear-splitting noise at the speed of 450 mph, leaving a distinct vapor trail behind. It then descended rapidly toward the crowd who stood gaping at the scene.

    The historical aircraft that was used in World War II returned for the 29th Salute to Veterans Airshow on Saturday.”

    Updated lede: Retired U.S. Navy Reserve Com. Willis Rief made his first visit to the Columbia Reginal Airport on Saturday. The veteran, who is not in his 60s, served in the Navy for 20 years and was one of 10 honored guests invited to the 29th Salute to Veteran Airshow.

    There he was unexpectedly reunited with his old friend from decades ago.

    “We happened to be in the same Navy squadron together like 35 years ago,” Rief said. “It’s the first time I’ve been reunited with him. So it’s a real treat for me personally on that aspect.”

    Twitter idea: The “Vampire” was more attractive than Edward of Twilight or Damon of Vampire Diaries.

  12. Headline: Rose Music Hall’s new outdoor stage grand opening set for Friday

    Old: Rose Music Hall is building a new stage in Rose Park with plans to make the revamped outdoor venue a “destination for concertgoers across the state of Missouri.”

    New: Nationally touring acts will have a new outdoor venue at Rose Park that will be a “destination for concertgoers across the state of Missouri.”

  13. Headline: Battle Line Rivalry again set for Black Friday on CBS
    Old Lead: The Battle Line Rivalry’s fourth edition has been set for 1:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24, on CBS.
    New Lead: There will be no ceasefire in this border war.

    I changed this particular lead because it was unbelievably boring. It just gave some information. I made the lead that way originally because that information is the most important and it is what people want to know, but it is, again, unbelievably boring. My new lead is a slight risk, I think it works.

    Tweet: Nursing a food hangover? Relax on the couch and tune into CBS Friday after Thanksgiving to see Missouri take on Arkansas

    Headline: Columbia Independent’s Bryant breaks Missouri all-class record in pole vault
    Old Lead: Khristen Bryant bounced restlessly alone on the runway. The rest of her competition in the pole vault stopped over 20 minutes ago. She had already clinched the Class 1 state title after clearing the bar at 10 feet, but there was more work to be done.
    New Lead: Khristen Bryant soars into college as the best female pole-vaulter Missouri has ever seen.

    I changed this lead as well because I just used a scene right off the bat and I remember in lecture that sometimes people don’t have time to read a scene or want to read a scene right off the bat. Here I wanted to give an actual lead before I go into the scene. Not even sure this is the perfect lead, but at least it is a lead and not just a scene.

  14. madisonskahill says:

    Headline: Columbia Parks and Recreation approves initial plans for new indoor sports field house

    Original lead: The proposed construction of a new indoor sports fieldhouse at A. Perry Phillips Park aims to compensate for the lack of court space for Columbia league sports teams.

    New lead: Four full-sized basketball courts and a 41,000-square-foot indoor facility at A. Perry Phillips Park are the hopeful answer to a lack of court space for Columbia league sports teams.

    Reasoning: I changed this lead because while I kind of touched on the local issue in my first lead, I don’t think it got the most eye-catching information to the front of the sentence. I don’t think I made a drastic change, but I think the new lead puts the focus at the beginning, and then shares a little bit about the local issue it will address.

    Tweet: A new sports facility at A. Perry Phillips Park could be the game-changer in the local scramble for court space.

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