Monday, February 20, 2017

Which Lead Do You Prefer and Why?

1) Most coaches would steer clear of a team that went 5-27 the year before but being that bad was exactly what Jennifer Azzi was attracted to when she took the job of head women’s basketball coach at the University of San Francisco at the start of the 2012 season.

        Azzi, 45, says that she loves the Bay Area and couldn’t pass up the opportunity of coming in at this point in the team’s history, “I’d been through it as a player and so I was looking at this as a diamond in the rough.”

2) It was not the pickup line Marcia Clay was expecting to hear when the handsome man in the
tuxedo flirtatiously approached her.

      “What’s it like to be so cross-eyed?”

       Offended and slightly irritated she replied, “Some of us are lucky enough to have defects that     show.”

        He thought she was talking about his big ass, Clay says, but she was actually alluding to his arrogance.

       Clay looks like the girl next door, blonde hair and blue eyes,  —if the girl  next door had
 Cerebral Palsy.  Her big blue eyes are crossed, her tall frame is slightly hunched due to her limp,
and one of her hands falls near her side and curves in.


14 comments:

Kenadi Silcox said...

I prefer the second one. The first lead is just slightly awkward and not as interesting as starting off with an insult. I instantly wanted to know more about why someone would ask a woman about being cross-eyed.

Carlos Murillo said...

I actually like the first one more. While it seems a little blunt and a little forward, I think it introduces the story nicely. We get the who, what, when, where, and why in the lead.

I think the second lead takes a little too long to develop. If I'm reading a news article, I need to know information sooner. If I'm just reading a normal human interest story then the second one is acceptable.

It, ultimately, depends on what kind of piece I'm supposed to be reading. Based on the work that we've been doing, the first lead satisfies me more. The cerebral palsy info should happen sooner because it changes the way that I approach the story.

Aimee Myers said...

I prefer the second lead as well. The first one, although informative, is a little boring as it seems to just provide basic facts. The second, however, instantly grabs the reader's attention with argumentative language, which pushes the reader to find out more about the story.

Price said...

I prefer the second one because It caught my attention more. The first one was nicely done and covered the 5 w's, but overall I think the readers would be interested in reading more on the second one.

Tara G said...

I prefer the second one because it is more interesting and makes you want to know more. However the first one is more informative and make you feel like you have a better understanding of the story.

....J.Michael Robertson said...

Are you concerned about possible embarrassment to the subject of the second story caused by leading with so revealing a lead?

rozr said...

I prefer the first lead. It was more informative and got to the point of the story right away. I found the second lead to be confusing.

Rebekah Hanzas said...

I liked the first one because it was informative and relevant to USF. Also, the second one, despite it being catchy, didn't seem to have a point to the story in the lead.

Cathrin Jacob said...

I prefer the first lead. I feel as if the second lead was unprofessional and seemed more like a magazine feature than a newsprint piece.

Ian Hill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ian Hill said...

I would prefer the first lead as it seems like a professional story. If I was writing this story I would write the first lead.

Alex Kriese said...

I would prefer the fist lead because a lot of the information is inside the first fifty words. In addition, I am a lot more interested in the subject matter of a struggling sports team that is trying to recover. The second lead seems more like a narrative instead of a lead.

Sarah Armendariz said...

I prefer the first lead because of how straightforward the information is within the first few lines. Despite how it may be seen as awkwardly worded, it still grabs your attention and does it's job as a lead.

....J.Michael Robertson said...

Good comments:

1) You are correct that content often trumps form. If you want to read a sports story, a clear serviceable straightforward sports lead will lead you in. If y our subject matters fits your readership, a workmanlike lead does fine.

2) If your space is limited, a lead that sets the scene may throw your story off balance because you end up with too much lead and too little info in the body of the story.

3) Ian talks about a "professional" lead. I'd say it's closer to a traditional news lead while the second lead is more the kind of lead you'd find in a newspaper feature section or in a lifestyle or consumer magazine. Cathrin explicitly addresses that distinction.

4) Rebekah is right. In the case of the second lead, we're a way into the story without knowing exactly what the thesis, the point, the nut graf is. Here's the nut graf from deeper in the story:

Clay says she is reminded daily that she has a disability when she looks into the mirror, yet that has never stopped her from accomplishing any of her aspirations,

5) Full disclosure: I prefer the second lead because that's the kind of story I like and the kind I preferred writing. But being able to write short sharp newsy leads is a useful skill, in part because it "trains" the mind to pull out the essence of a pool of facts. I always wanted to be better at writing crisp simple news leads.