Mountain Girl in a Midwest Cornfield

It’s All In the Lede

I was scrolling through the New York Times tonight looking for a lede that would grab my attention. I wanted to stay away from the opinion pieces, and the pieces about Trump, and finally a title caught my eye.

I had been looking into the case a tiny bit earlier in the day, and then became ecstatic as I read the lede. It reads, “The morning after her upset political victory, Ayanna Pressley ascended a stage in Dorchester a few blocks from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, greeting activists who had gathered to unify the party and to see a trailblazer — black, female, Bostonian — now poised to assume the old J.F.K. congressional seat.” It’s from the article Ayanna Pressley’s Victory: A Political Earthquake That Reflects a Changed Boston. 

For me, this lede worked. I am a female fighting for a change in American politics, and here is a female of color doing just that. This lede made me excited. It made me proud of the work we are accomplishing, and it made me want to follow the story more.

In honor of this lede, I am going to try to rewrite it. Bear with me, here goes:

Ayanna Pressley — groundbreaking, black female — upset the Boston political world yesterday and ascended the steps of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library this morning to greet party-unifying activists.

1 Comment

  1. fuglsang

    That short declarative sentence, “It is now,” tucked amid longer sentences, is nice pacing.

    OK. Take out the “groundbreaking female.” That’s telling and you can add it back in later. Focus on the scene: Pressley climbing the steps. To what?

    I kind of lock the “earthquake” and “jolt” that come later. The shock and surprise.

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