James J. Kilpatrick

Good reporters learn in their cradles that every word must count in a good lead. Nancie L. Katz provided an admirable example in the New York Daily News some months ago: "A two-bit burglar wound up a three-time loser yesterday when he drew a sentence of 18 years to life for a bungled break-in that left him a broken man."

What a lovely lead! There's no way to stop reading Katz's story -- and the first aim of good writing, after all, is to make a reader want to keep on reading.

James J. Kilpatrick

James J. Kilpatrick has been reporter, editor, columnist, commentator, and briefly an adjunct professor of journalism.

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