Best/Worst ledes (Foster)

BEST:

WASHINGTON, Pa. — The building sits no more than a mile from the highway, but the short distance between Washington High School and Interstate 70 provides insight into a community hurting to hold onto its proud traditions. 

The severe coal mining decline in Western Pennsylvania hit the blue-collar community hard, and Jefferson Avenue, the state highway between the school and interstate, is lined with several struggling or boarded up businesses. 

“We’re kind of a downtrodden community,” Mike Bosnic said. “A lot of the businesses have packed up and left. But we’re one of those coal towns where football still means a lot.” 

So when Shai McKenzie quit the football team for a 24-hour period during his freshman season in 2010, he had an entire town to make it up to. 

“You can’t really quit on your teammates and community,” McKenzie said.

– Jared Shanker, ESPN – “McKenzie Revitalizes Pennsylvania town

Shanker does a nice job of describing the town of Washington by portraying it as a town that could be anywhere, the sort of town that most of us have likely driven right past or stopped in for gas. Yet, those still left in the town want to see it succeed, and this teenage running back can help them feel that way, if at least for 60 minutes on Friday nights. The quote from McKenzie hits hard because it moves Shanker’s point forward: that what the RB is doing means alot more to the community and its citizens more than he’ll know.

WORST:

ESPN Watch List safety Quin Blanding (Virginia Beach, Va./Bayside) is ready to make his decision.

The 6-foot-2, 196-pound prospect, who competed in Gridiron Kings over the summer, is down to a final group of 10. And his declaration, he confirmed to ESPN, will come at 2:30 p.m. ET Feb. 27. 

“Yep, and it is the top 10 I posted,” he said. 

– Corey Dowlar, ESPN – “Watch List safety ready to reveal decision

In fairness to Dowlar, there’s not much creative you can do with this sort of story, but it’s boring. In addition, if you’re going to write a simple news story, I’d like to see all the important information right away. It takes Dowlar four grafs to say what schools lead for Blanding, which is the info I was looking for in the first or second sentence. The only concrete info we get in the quoted portion is the time and date of Blanding’s announcement.

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