Monthly Archives: January 2006

The Lede: Starting Your Article

The lede is the most important part of a news story. What is a lede?

It’s not a made up word. It’s pronounced lead — as in “I am in the lead,” but when newspapers were printed back in the day people used to get it confused with lead (the metal) which was in the ink. So to clear the confusion between production matters (how much lead is in the ink) and editorial matters they changed the spelling.

There are two basic ledes, the hard lede and the soft lede.

I am personally a fan of the hard lede. Soft ledes are funner to write and more fulfilling, but they can also lose the reader and newspapers already have a problem with losing readers.

The hard lede should be quick and to the point and give the reader the basic information in the story.

Here is a lede for the story of Little Red Ridding Hood

“A 10-year-old girl and her bed-ridden grandmother escaped death yesterday after a woodsman hacked open a cross-dressing wolf that swallowed them whole.”

Feel free to leave more ledes for fairy tales in the comments.