To continue our ongoing look at ledes, I say we take a moment to appreciate the “Flashlight Lede.”
Perhaps I’m jumping the gun, since I haven’t yet discussed the “Inverted Pyramid,” the first lede someone should learn, but indulge me as I assume a certain familiarity with the Inverted Pyramid.
A Flashlight Lede begins just like an Inverted Pyramid. The most important information at the top and less important information following.
Hence, the body of the story levels out, so that instead of reaching an information tip (the bottom of the Inverted Pyramid), the information comes in a smooth and chronological flow. A diagram of this model resembles an upward flashlight. It starts like an inverted pyramid but then suddenly smooths out. All information is deemed equally important and so is conveyed to us in the order in which things occurred.
The Flashlight lede is a difficult one to use. But when dealing with some stories it can prove very useful, particularly stories that have a confusing series of events.
For example, if someone is in surgery because of a bullet wound, that should go in the lede. If the bullet wound was the result of a misfire, caused by a loud noise, that happened because a squirrel jumped into the engine of a fire truck on its way to save a cat from a tree, perhaps telling the story in a chronological order will help the reader understand just what happened. Dig?
It’s also easy to imagine how the Flashlight Lede is useful for sports stories.