News Story Writing

Write the leads for below 4 stories
Remember, leads can be no longer than 35 words. Start with the “what” element, and not the time, place or source.

  1. Todd Lefforge is an orthodontist who has been working in your community for 11 years. He is 36 years old and lives at 537 Peterson Place. He has a practice of about 750 current patients. He has treated approximately 5,000 more in the past. Today he announced that he has AIDS. He was diagnosed with AIDS three days ago. He immediately closed his practice. He also wrote a letter to all his patients, mostly children, and their parents. His letter, which parents began to receive today, says, “I am very sorry for any anxiety this may cause to anyone.” The citys Department of Health has set up an emergency center at its downtown office where, starting today, his patients can be tested for the AIDS virus and counseled about their fears. Leforge, who decided to immediately close his practice, said he tried to be reassuring in his letter. “I have always followed the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] guidelines regarding infection and sterilization procedures,” he wrote. “I feel no patients could have been infected by me.” Dr. Cathleen Graham, M.D., head of the citys Health Department, agreed that: “The risk is minimal. But the long odds don’t lessen the fears of a parent. Since we’re dealing primarily with children, its more emotional. Its going to be a traumatic time.”
  2. The accident occurred yesterday at your citys airport. A plane crashed on takeoff. Gusty crosswinds were at least partly to blame, said airport officials. The plane was a single-engine Cessna 172 Skyhawk. It crashed shortly after 4 p.m. yesterday afternoon. The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified and is investigating the crash. The pilot was Joel Fowler, age 23, of 2606 Hillcrest Street. The identity of his 3 passengers was not immediately available. All survived the crash. “It was a miracle we only got scratches,” said Fowler, who added that they were “out cruising” in the rented plane, and that he was practicing a few touch-and-go landings. A touch and go is where the plane hits the runway for a split second and then goes airborne again. As the craft touched the runway it was going about 70 mph and being tossed by the wind. Fowler said, “It was real tough.” He gave it full throttle to climb back into the air, but in an instant the plane veered right, a wing struck the pavement and it turned upside down, “spewing pieces everywhere.” The four, stunned but otherwise not seriously hurt, unbuckled their seat belts and piled out of the plane immediately. The passengers were taken to Regional Medical Center for examination and treatment of cuts, bruises and shock.
  3. State Senator Karen Simmons proposed another new law today. She introduced it in the state senate. To protect the environment she wants to ban disposable diapers but expects strong opposition among working mothers and day-care centers. “We’re running out of landfill space,” Simmons, a Democrat, said. “But there are young mothers who are going to scream and holler.” Many day-care centers will not accept children who wear cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers. “You just cannot handle cloth diapers as sanitarily,” said Denise Abdondanzio, a spokesman for the states day care centers. Simmens filed her bill (SB 1244) to ban disposable diapers effective Jan. 1. Without a ban, she said, disposable diapers will fill up landfills, “causing problems long after the babies have babies.”
  4. The nations homebuilders are concerned about a problem that affects young adults—but also the entire nation (and its economy as well). The problem is affordable housing. At its annual convention, currently being held in Las Vegas, Nevada, the National Homebuilders Association revealed that a survey it commissioned shows a drop in homeownership rates over the last 10 years among young families—and a rapidly dwindling stock of low-cost rental housing. The associations members expect the problems to continue. The homeownership rate among families in the 25-to-34 age group has fallen to 45%, largely because they don’t have the cash for a down payment or the income to qualify for a loan. At the same time, rents are at record high rates in much of the country, making it harder for young families to accumulate the money needed for a down payment. Wayne Doyle, the associations President, offered no concrete solutions to the problem, which has sent the homebuilding industry into the doldrums, with fewer sales and higher unemployment rates. “Young families face a difficult situation,” Doyle concluded. “They must accumulate enough savings to make a down payment but they are finding it harder to obtain good jobs, and also find that more and more of their money is going for rent, so its harder to save anything for a house.” By comparison, the homeownership rate for 65-to-74 year olds is 78.2%.

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