Tag Archives: 8/31

Kat Allen 8/31 – Do Numbers Make the Best Lede’s?

San Francisco school officials have some explaining – and complying – to do. Last year, the district failed to follow the strict rules attached to a $56 million, three-year federal grant to improve student performance at 10 of its lowest-performing schools. The schools could lose the second installment – about $18 million – if they don’t make adjustments.   Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/08/30/BAT11KTPED.DTL#ixzz1WeQbw3Di

As a reader of the News online I wanted to find an article that not only caught my eye, but also made me wonder “what the heck happened?”  So I searched the newspapers in California hoping to find something that would intrigue me.  In Robert M. Knight’s book Journalistic Writing he teaches us to focus on lede’s (the first lines) and how they should draw you in as a reader and therefore keep you reading.  So I focused in on the first lines of stories hoping something would make me want to read on instead of move on.

This particular article I found at the SFGate.com (seen above) which caught my attention immediately due to the lede written.  I was a student in California and I had immediately been intrigued by the statement that the school officials had some explaining to do.  I liked that this article did not mention in the first line why they had some explaining to do.  If they had mentioned it then I would have the entire story and not be interested in reading the rest.  I guess that is the whole point of a lede; to make a reader read on.  This article was quite long, but I read through due to the information and outrageous numbers that were precisely placed in the story to keep me reading to find out more.  A chart was even included to show which schools were doing which of the 4 Reforms given to them so that they can stay funded.  This visual was great because it simplified the information into chart form instead of putting it into words; and perhaps if it had been done that way the readers would have become bored and stopped reading.

Sometimes the numbers can be a little daunting or boring to most, but when they are about children’s schools and people losing their jobs because of overall bad decisions people can’t help but be interested in this story.  A successful lede leads to a successful story in this case.