News Worksheet 8A: Writing a lead for a fire story

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Write a lead based on the following set of facts:


Who?         Single mother Jane Thomas and her three children — Clive, 7; Mary, 4; Henry, 1

What?        escaped a four-alarm fire

Where?      in their apartment at 232 E. Oak Ave. in Palletown, NJ

When?       Thursday morning. Fire officials got the 911 call at 3 a.m. and arrived on the scene at 3:06 a.m.

Why?         “Looks like faulty wiring caused the fire,” said Veronika Smith, Palletown fire chief.

How?         Smith credited the presence of working smoke alarms with the family’s safe exit from the building.  “By the time we got there, they were already downstairs and safe.”




EVALUATE your lead by answering the following questions:


·      Are the 5 W’s and H stacked most important to least?

·      Is the lede free of unattributed opinion?

·      30 words or less?

·      Active voice?

·      Free of unfamiliar proper nouns?