Writing the summary lead for folks in a hurry

A big challenge in writing for the media is learning to craft fast summaries. As we said in class, most readers are in a hurry when they glance at our pages and sites, or when they click on a broadcast to listen.

Our job: Boil down the information. Give our audience what they want and need.

Some digital sites specialize in this.  One of those is called Ozy, and its mission is to help occasional readers get up to speed quickly. This is how its editors describe their goal.

Here is an example in its coverage of White House adviser Jared Kushner’s testimony on his exchanges with Russian officials.  How does a writer summarize an 11-page document and a few hours of testimony?  The Ozy treatment avoids ‘mumbling’ by beginning with this:

He’s got “nothing to hide.” So says senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, insisting he never worked with Russia to aid his father-in-law’s election.