Friday, February 01, 2008

It's official: Christmas came (really, really) early!

Q: If my lede can be snicked off in such wise that the reader may begin at the second graf with the square root of utterly no change in comprehension, is that a good sign or a bad sign? A friend of mine really, really wants to know.

A: Glad you asked! Generally, if your lede is so irrelevant that it doesn't need to be read, you should consider a new lede. As in this prominent example:

And then there were two.

The first time the Democratic presidential field debated, there were eight candidates on stage, the dominant topics were the Iraq war and terrorism, and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama avoided attacking or even engaging each other.


Of course, that means you might generally wish to avoid using such threadbare constructions in heds as well. No matter how high you can count:

… And Then There Were Four

And then there were 2 - Edwards bows out

Democrats: And Then There Were Two
(Even the NYT? Yes, even the NYT)

And Then There Were Two?
(particularly shameless of the Times, fishing in the same spot twice in a week, eh?)

One could go on and on and on, but -- why would one?

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