The Alternate Lead

Here's the "Alternate Lead" section of David Moffit's 1979 guide on how to cover football for UPI.

An alternate lead is icing on the cake, an effort to provide UPI subscribers iwth a different approach, a more featurized angle. Such a lead is usually called for when the game is (1) nationally televised, (2) involves high-ranking teams, (3) is an upset of national impact, or (4) any combination of the above.

The alternate lead gives you more leeway than the breaking lead. You have more time to write, time enough to get quotes from coaches and players and time to digest what has happened. It also provides a platform for colorful writing.

In an alternate lead, you don't have to include who won, how, and by how much up at the top. One of the better examples of an alternate lead first paragraph was written years ago by a UPI staffer covering a game between powerful Ohio State and under Cornell, which came from behind to win.

His lead?

'Ohio State scraped the ivy off Cornell Saturday and found granite underneath."

Usually, alternate leads run 200-250 words and pick up on the second or third paragraph of the earlier story. Write-through leads are rare in college football because there are so many stories to move.

Next: THE FOLLOWUP . . .