Blog Post Four: Five Ledes

This article about Sheryl Sandberg is part mini-biographical, part anecdotal. It tells how Sandberg’s managerial strengths were evident from childhood as a lead in to her life story. It’s strong in that sense, but doesn’t really hint at the broader theme – women in the workplace more generally.

Lede: “Sheryl Sandberg’s first employees, according to her family, were her siblings David and Michelle . . . ‘To the best of our knowledge Sheryl never actually played as a child,” they said. “[She] really just organized other children’s play.'”

This article begins with a summary of how demonstrations began in Syria as a lead in to an article about how those demonstrations have devolved into an intractable war. It probably qualifies as an “anecdotal” lede.

“Two years ago, Syria was a very different place . . . Those demonstrations were the beginning.”

This article about Detroit’s bankruptcy is a direct address, incorporating the writer’s personal attachment to the city as a native before talking about Detroit’s straits more generally.  She equates the city’s struggle with a personal failing, before connecting her feelings with the impressions of the community as a whole.

“It’s hard not to feel like a failure. Detroit, my home since 2007, will soon be taken over by an emergency financial manager, hand picked by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder . . . Which is why, despite my sadness, I find myself cautiously optimistic about temporary emergency management.”

This article about Rand Paul uses a question lede.

“Even as redoubtable a liberal as the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson proclaimed that ‘Rand Paul was right.’ But was he?”

This American Conservative article about College Republicans uses a mini-biographical lede.

“James R. Lawrence III doesn’t look like a campus misfit. The North Carolina State University senior has the kind of clean-cut, buttoned-down appearance one expects of a major in biomedical engineering, a field whose academic rigors leave little room for an “Animal House” or Abbie Hoffman way of life. But Lawrence is more unusual than his demeanor might suggest. He’s distinctly in the minority of a minority, as both a campus conservative and one who’s against the Iraq War.”

I think the strongest among these is the American Conservative article. It does a good job of illustrating how young people in the GOP represent the future of the party, but distills this idea by telling the story of just one of those College Republicans. I think the weakest is the Atlantic article about Rand Paul. It only appeals to the small population people who know who Eugene Robinson is, and it uses both a quote and a question – two of the weakest styles of ledes.


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