Friday, April 24, 2015

Thumb ledes

Two cases of the thumb lede in the first four pages of the morning paper.

Why "thumb lede"? Because you can place your thumb over the first paragraph with no damage to the rest of the story! See how easy it is?

There will be no panda-monium in the Motor City.

It's a little hard to forget about the notion, especially if you forgot it shortly after somebody said it on TV a year and a half ago, but you'll notice that the second graf has all the impact of the first, with none of the panda-monium. (As an added bonus, though, the story actually gets worse online: the fourth graf becomes "It's simply too dang expensive.")

On to page 4A and a metrically flawed thumber: Cookies and brownies and Rice Krispies treats, oh my!

... garnished (healthfully!) with a piece of elongated yellow fruit: "the tasty — but less healthy — homemade confections."

Beware the thumb lede. Why make readers wade through your prose before they get to your news?

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