The first( and the most important ) paragraph of the news story is called the lead. the lead paragraph gives the reader the story’s main tapic and the most important facts. It summarizes the key points of the story.
As pointed out in unit 1, the news story is developed in a way different from a normal story. Short stories or novels and other forms of literature are usually written in chronological order. This means that the author starts at the beginning, sets the time ad place, describes the scene, introduces the characters, then slowly weaves and threads the plot until a climax is reached. the climax is deliberately held back to build suspense and to dramatize the events that hold the reader’s interest to the end. However, the news story is an exception to this genera rule. In most instances the news story begins with its climax, i.e. important facts or key points. It is summarized at the beginning and then is retold in greater detail. Items and facts are arranged in descending order of importance.
Historically, putting the most important facta at the beginning of the story was developed in the mid_1800s when reporters began to use the telegraph to transmit stories back to their newspapers. Since the telegraph ines were unreliable, the reporters found that their choronogical style of news writting would get cut off by a dropped telegraph line. Then they began to push the important facts to the top of the story and provided details as the story unfolded. If a lina failed , they had already given the newspaper the most important information.
Today, the justification for this practice, i.e. putting the most important information at the top is that it meets the needs of newspaper users. The readers of news usually want to know what has happened as soon as the story begings to unfold. If it is interesting, they will pay attantion. Otherwise, they turn elsewhere .In fact the lead grabs the ear or eye of the audience and says, in effect,” this is important! you really need to know about this! pay attention.” this has developed into a convention of telling the main facts of a news story in its first paragraph. This convention requires that in the lead the reporter answerthe questions which would occur to any normal person when learning about an event.