Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lede of the morning

When you're about to paint yourself into a corner, stop painting:

Enjoying Blues Fest takes good ribbing

FERNDALE — The figure of speech, “when pigs fly,” means that something will never happen. At least one website carries that image a bit further. Can pigs steer, if they do fly? it asks.

The hed primes you for something; I'm not sure what, but it doesn't seem to have much to do with flying or steering. And lose the commas around "when pigs fly."

Folks in Ferndale would have a ready answer to that question: “Of course!”

Uh, OK. If I could find the Web site in question, this would make sense, right?

Well, the truth is that they don't exactly fly in Ferndale, but they have been steered to various locations about town in a fund-raising effort to support local charitable organizations which benefit from Ferndale's annual Blues Festival. Those organizations include the Michigan AIDS Coalition and Ferndale Youth Assistance.

Well, where do they fly? Are we going to learn about an upcoming blues festival or about the assorted "local charitable organizations"?

You can forget the traditional pink version, because these pigs are blue, which is a story in itself that goes back to the early years of planning for the annual Ferndale Blues Festival. The 10th annual festival runs this year from Jan. 28 to Feb. 5.

It might be a "story in itself," but it doesn't seem to be one worth telling. If you can hang on for another graf, you find out that the pigs are actually giant piggy banks, but not why they're blue. And five grafs after that, you get to the rib-cooking contest -- though not the "ribbing," so apparently the Comedy Castle isn't sending a delegation. Nothing else about steering or flying, though.

The shell game is a tricky approach to feature stories. You can string me along for a while, but eventually you have to show me where the ball went. Sooner is better than later, but "never" isn't an option.



Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

Wait. Do they steer, or are they steered?

12:23 PM, January 23, 2011  

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