Journalist leads are a system of opening lead agreements vs. no-trump contracts:
- Ace from a very strong holding that requests partner to unblock a top honor, if he has one. For example, leading the ace from AKJT5 asks partner to play the queen. Without an honor to unblock, partner should give a count signal instead.
- King from AK(x) or KQ(x) asks partner to give an attitude signal. Note that a low card (e.g. fourth best) should be led from a long suit like AKxx or KQxxx if trying to establish the suit.
- Queen from any suit headed by QJT or KQT9. The lead of the queen from KQT9 is now considered a standard lead. It asks partner to unblock the jack if he has it.
- Jack from any suit headed by JT. The jack denies a higher honor, and is NOT led from interior sequences such as AJT9.
- Ten from any interior sequences headed by the ten. Examples: AT95, KT98, QT954. The ten guarantees a higher non-touching honor, i.e. the ace, king or queen.
- Nine from any suit headed by the T9. Examples: T95, T932.
- Lower spot cards are third and fifth leads.
Journalist leads derive their name from their original source of publication, "The Bridge Journal" magazine in the 1960s.