The Importance of Word Choice in Ledes

D.C. police shut down a block of Connecticut Avenue north of Dupont Circle for nearly three hours on Friday after authorities said a bank robber dropped a suspicious package while making his getaway.

Whenever I come across an article about a bank robbery, it always captures my attention. Bank robberies make me think of Hollywood versions of robberies like those in the “Ocean’s Eleven” series. In these portrayals of robberies, the robbers are always handsome and the banks are seemingly impossible to break into, complete with laser beams and complex safes. This is why any lede with the words “bank robber” is interesting. While this lede in the Washington Post is attention grabbing, it could have been more successful. The words “bank robber,” “suspicious package,” and “getaway” are all good quality word choices that make the reader want to finish the article. However, the geography and time explained in the first sentence should have been saved for a later part of the article or the lede, in my opinion. There were a few word choices later in the article that should have been used to make the Lede have more of a punch. For example:

Officer Araz Alali said the holdup occurred minutes before noon at the TD Bank in the 1700 block of Connecticut Avenue NW.

If the word “holdup” had been used, I think the lede would have been more successful. “Holdup” has connotations to guns and cowboys that Americans can not resist. If I were to rewrite this lede, it would say:

A bank robber in the DC area dropped a suspicious package while making his getaway. DC Police were forced to shut down a block of Connecticut Avenue north of Dupont Circle for nearly three hours on Friday to investigate the holdup.

My version of the lede puts the more moving news first and uses the words “forced” and “investigate” which are much more appealing than the basic way that the original lede gave the information.

The article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/crime-scene/post/bank-robber-drops-package-streets-closed-north-of-dupont-circle/2012/10/05/c315943e-0f0c-11e2-a310-2363842b7057_blog.html

One response to “The Importance of Word Choice in Ledes

  1. I like what you did there. Much better lede.