Ken Blake, Ph.D. Middle Tennessee State University has some very helpful outlines that will take you back to school at http://mtsu32.mtsu.edu:11178/171/leads.htm..
Rule #1: A straight news lead should be a single paragraph consisting of a single sentence, should contain no more than 30 words, and should summarize, at minimum, the most newsworthy "what," "where" and "when" of the story.
Rule #2: The lead's first verb should express the main "what" of the story and should be placed among the lead's first seven words. (personally, I love it when the word YOU is in there early too, so that I know the story affects ME immediately)
Rule #3: The lead's first verb -- the same one that expresses the main "what" of the story -- should be active voice, not passive voice.
Active vs passive? If you need a little refresher on THAT, click on: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_actpass.html
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