Except for a tragic accident, the 35th annual Bath Heritage Days parade went off without a hitch.
Setting aside for the moment that the story fails to mention anything about a tragic accident, doesn’t this make you want to read the story? As Wife Rhetorica said this morning: “You could write stories as long as you want with ledes like that!”
We teach students to craft ledes that make readers want to read the story. But what does that really mean? And what are the consequences? All the journalism textbooks mention this as an important aspect of the lede. This idea needs a lot more study (and rhetorical analysis). I’m teaching JRN270 Introduction to Journalism this fall. This goofy lede has given me an idea: I will attempt a semester-long, play-by-play analysis of what I’m teaching in JRN270, including critical examination of the concepts and practices enshrined in the textbook.
Rhetorica readers will get to follow along. I’ll put the class materials online–including the syllabus and assignments (I’ve always done this).
How do you write a good lede? Perhaps we’ll find out.