- Try not to be missLEADing
- November 20th, 2008
Usually I spend my time on the AJC.com scoffing at the poor editing, less-than par headlines and odd placement of stories. Today, however, I found something that I actually liked and agreed with.
To me, a straight news lead is pretty easy to write. It usually goes something like this: What, who (depending on who the story is actually about, if prominent person, then who probably goes in front of what), where, when, why (if important, if not, that goes in the next paragraph). Really, lead writing, to me, is more like a math problem; there is an equation and you plug in the variables. But sometimes I read a lead that really makes me feel something other than disgust. Not only is this a rare occasion, but it's often not found on the AJC.com. Often, the act of feeling something instead of just learning information, sets a good lead from a great lead. And often, these great leads are found in soft news, or timely features, and have the real lead after the eye-catcher.
A story today from the AJC about how 3 Georgia Tech grads will get to watch the Miami/GT game from Space tonight:
"Three Georgia Tech grads will have the ultimate nosebleed seats for pre-game activities before their alma mater’s big football game with Miami tonight."
A story about a university restricting smoking on its campus from BizJournal:
"Smokers at the University of Buffalo should get ready to take their puffs elsewhere."
A story about the price of oil from the Times:
"Oil dropped briefly below $50 a barrel for the first time in 22 months, shedding close to $100 in four months."
It tells us everything we need to know, but we don't really feel anything. It's just like "meh...okay."
A story about some prisioners being release from a war prison from the Times:
"After the first hearing on the government’s evidence for holding detainees at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, a federal judge ruled on Thursday that five of the prisoners are not being lawfully held and ordered their release."
A story, believe it or not, about the Zune media player found on Ars Technica via Google News:
"Subscription music models have always been a "better" solution than à la carte models, at least in theory."
What??? That sentence, the first sentence, the MOST important sentence, tells us nothing! What, exactly, does "better" mean? What, exactly, is the theory about subscription music models? And...most importantly...what the hell do we care?
A story about a stem cell transplant from Telegraph.co.uk:
"The pioneering windpipe transplant carried out by doctors in Barcelona was jeopardised by easyJet when airline staff refused to allow the transportation of stem cells needed for the operation, it has been claimed."
It has been claimed, huh? Why aren't you claiming it? You're telling us!