Rantings and respect: the search for ledes

I miss Seattle. After living there for a year as a freshman at Seattle Pacific University, that quirky, damp city is still tied securely around the fondest place in my heart. This fondness is why I still read The Seattle Times every day. Not only does it serve as a way for me to indulge in nostalgic memories, but  I often find very good examples of journalism in this publication, so it only entices me to read it more.

Today, I found a lede worth remembering in a travel article about walking across America.  This lede instantly gives me the human interest part of the story. It doesn’t make me go searching for why cross-country walking treks are important to write about. Within the first two sentences, I already know why 29-year-old Ken Ilgunas hikes cross-country. By knowing what he values out of his experience, I can instantly visualize him.  I know this is a feature-ish lead, but hey, I’m a Vox reporter this semester. 

Now, the search for the less shiny, great example. I now turn to my hometown’s newspaper, the Jefferson City News Tribune. This is in no way to bash the News Tribune. I worked as a weekly columnist for the publication when I was a senior in high school, and often get my hometown news from its online stories.

Today, however, I just so happened to find a lede that needs a little polishing. This story about a Jefferson City-based program called Halo that works with the homeless and at-risk youth of the capital city. I didn’t learn that from the lede, though. I actually didn’t even learn that from the story.I had to go to HALO’s website and find it. The story discusses one woman’s position within HALO, but doesn’t tell me if her position encompasses all of the services or if there are other facets of the program. 

Anyway, the lede itself begs enough unanswered questions. It reads: “Elle Benage’s position within HALO allows her to combine her passion for art and her passion for kids.” So… what’s her position? What’s HALO? Also, “combine passion for art and passion for kids” is  not extremely compelling stuff. I feel like this story could have been made so much better if this lede contained more compelling information. I want to understand who this woman is before I even delve into the body of the story. I understand that it isn’t a long story, but that’s all the more reason to have a stronger lede. You have less time to convince me that this is a good story. Start off on the right foot, please. 


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