Mountain Girl in a Midwest Cornfield

Category: Ledes

Rewriting the Lede for Couch Comfort

Original: What are the brothers of the Sigma Chi house hoping to accomplish with the crafty (and perhaps bizarre) placement of living room couches on their front lawn?

Standard Take: The Sigma Chi brothers choose comfort over practicality when it comes to their lawn furniture and choose to leave living room couches in their front lawn, just for the fun of it.

Whimsical Take: Sagging cushions on living rooms couches always seem to perk up in the sun, and the Sigma Chi brothers wouldn’t want to “chill” anywhere else.

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.

Gasoline Truck Overturns on Outskirts of Town

Four families were evacuated after a Texaco gasoline truck overturned and flooded the sewer lines with spilled gas on the outskirts of town.


For two blocks, including 48th Street and Correctionville Road, gas covered streets and flowed into ditches.


With gas on the roads, cars were rerouted while emergency personnel worked for two hours to flush out the gas. Fire Chief Charles Hochandel stated that his men “followed catastrophe and hazmat procedures set up beforehand” in case of such an emergency.


I chose this article, titled as “Hurricane Irma, One of the Most Powerful in History, Roars Across Caribbean,” as my example that has a good lead. It uses phrases such as “a trail of chaos” and “wreckage and flooding” to draw the reader in and appeal to currency and psychological tendencies. This piece is also a human interest piece, so the lead mentions the fact that the storm will soon be tormenting Florida. It mainly appeals to the emotions of the reader and the fear that is brewing throughout the country.