In this example, the lead emphasis is Alvin Gecko
(who) and his scoring binge (how). This is a classic who
and how summary lead, highlighting the key player and
how the game was won. This is the tried-and-true sports
lead, and the type all sportswriters should master.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION LEAD.
The background information lead is another type of lead
you should know about. It is a lead many sportswriters
now use, especially when writing about games that have
been broadcast over radio or television. Since readers
are likely to know in advance the final score, who won
and how the game was won, many sportswriters write
leads that emphasize background information or locker
room quotes to attract the reader.
The following is an example:
If Myra Navietes sprained ankle
slowed her down Saturday night, you
couldnt prove it to the Naval Station
W Ws or H not answered in the lead are
answered in the bridge.
A Attributes information found in the lead.
I Identifies persons or groups impersonally
identified in the lead.
S Secondary facts are brought out in the bridge.
The speedy forward, who was
sidelined three games because of an
injury, scored 23 points to lead the
N a v a l S e c u r i t y G r o u p H i a l e ah
Seminoles to a 56-37 victory over the
Pirates in women's basketball action at
Thats the word coach Thomas
Katt used to. describe his Century
Dolphins 88-79 basketball victory
over Rainbow Central here Friday
(Bridge) We stunk up the gym,
Katt said. I hate to say it, he added,
but the better team lost tonight.
Note that these leads emphasize background
information and are not one-sentence summary leads.
They still include the essential Ws and H, however.
Some newer journalism textbooks advise sportswriters
to write this type of lead and to stay away from the
simple summary lead You may wish to follow this
advice as you develop your sportswriting skills, but first
you should master the bread-and-butter summary lead.
Bridges in sports stories serve the same purpose as
news story bridges, primarily to link the lead to the body.
Like news story bridges, they are often categorized by
the purposes they serve, easily remembered with the
T Ties the story back to a previous story.
Very often, sports bridges are used to bring out
secondary facts that explain the significance of the
game. The bridge might, for example, explain that a loss
drops the team into the losers bracket in a tournament,
that a victory ties the team for the league lead, that a loss
marks the fourth in a row for the team, or any other
Consider the example that follows:
The shutout is the first suffered by
the Fightin Giant Lampreys since
losing 24-0 to the USS Greystone in the
second game of the 1992 season 39
The victory extends USS Saufleys
winning streak to eight and extends its
lead to four games over the
second-place Naval Hospital in the
Blue and Gold Division.
Many beginning sportswriters incorrectly write the
bodies of their sports stories chronologically. However,
if the key play took place in the fifth inning or the third
quarter, that is where the body should begin. Usually,
the key play will be one that breaks a tie or gives the
winning team the go-ahead margin. In baseball, it might
be a four-run inning; in football, it might be a 60-yard
touchdown pass; and, in basketball, it might be two
clutch free throws in the final seconds.
Sometimes, the key will be a defensive play. It
might be a blocked punt or a diving catch in the outfield