What's in a Lead?



I realized some time has gone by since I've sat down to update this blog. Apologies to any of those who've taken the time to check in.

Attempted several times the past few days to update, but just too many other tasks lied ahead, so it was just not meant to be. Haven't had time to sit down and jot out some thoughts - mostly because things have been so busy - all in a good way.

Wednesday was the kind of day that a newsroom looks for every day - the kind of day when every reporter's story could have been a possible "lead story."

By "lead story," we usually mean whatever is the top story of the show. I can say without hesitation that this is sometimes a very tough task - but I'm sure viewers realize that anyway.

But what goes into the consideration of a "lead story"?

When we sit in the morning or afternoon meetings to go over what's happening in the course of the day, discuss what needs to be followed up on, and hear what ideas reporters have that they're looking to pursue, one of the first questions is the relevance. Is this a story that has to be told? Does it have to be told today? Is there a story idea or event that is better off being covered today and that original idea put on the back burner?

The next question that often comes up is WHO it's relevant too. Who does it impact? If a story impacts one person, while another impacts an entire region or area of people, does the first one get overruled? And even that impact can change, depending on the context of the story, the people involved, and - even if it immediately only effects a handful of people - if it has potential to create repercussions or precedents for larger impact or changes down the line.

Wednesday was, as I said, a day where finding a lead was not a problem. We threw our newest addition - Emma Wright from a station in Elmira - into the thick of it. A quick introduction, no time for pleasantries and right out the door onto her first story about a teen persecuted because of his sexual orientation at Mohawk Central School. Prejudice and harassment is not about one person - even if they're the subject of it. It branches out to the environment and people surrounding that person...and opens an eye to possibly larger problems that persist even in the 21st Century.

Pat Bailey was at the first Town Hall meeting held by Congressman Arcuri on the health care controversy, which even by the time it began had already filled the MVCC Theater to its maximum capacity. Health care has been on the mouths and minds of just about everyone, despite which side of the aisle you fall on. It stirs a myriad of passionate questions, thoughts.

And when questions came up in our morning meeting about the lengthy time frame from the initial activation of the Amber Alert on Tuesday night to when the media received notice via fax that the alert had been placed into effect, Megan Koskovich was with New Hartford Police to find out why and what goes into the process of an Amber Alert. When children disappeared, everyone takes notice, and re-examines their own relationship and emergency procedures when it comes to their kids.

Each story a completely viable lead. Not bad for a middle of the week. Not bad for any day, for sure.

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