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Favorite lede you've ever written or read?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Wonderlic, Sep 15, 2014.

  1. ChrisLong

    ChrisLong Well-Known Member

    Nothing earth-shattering about this lede, but I was pretty happy with the way I handled a difficult deadline situation.
    It was a UCLA-Cal basketball game, one of those 9 p.m. ESPN games. My deadline was "5 minutes after the game ends."
    Cal was comfortably ahead the whole game and led by 12 with 2 minutes to go. I told my boss (sitting next to me) that I'm no longer watching so let me know if something key happens.
    I had the back half of the story already written and went with a lede that included stuff like:
    -- the Golden Bears, who usually struggle at Pauley Pavilion, put on a clinic on how to win a key Pac-10 road game by dominating the boards and carving up the Bruins right from the start.

    Then my boss nudges me and points to the scoreboard. It was now a two-point game, there was still a minute left and UCLA had the ball.
    UCLA came back to win. I didn't have time to rewrite the whole lede so at the beginning, I added:
    -- For 38 minutes .... and picked up the rest.

    The next graf told of UCLA wild comeback with the final score.
    That was a crazy night.
  2. Tim Sullivan

    Tim Sullivan Member

    Another favorite, this one from Dick Schaap on the death of Lenny Bruce:

    Lenny Bruce fell off a toilet seat with a needle in his arm and he crashed to a tiled floor and died. And the police came and harassed him in death as in life. Two at a time, they let photographers from newspapers and magazines and television stations step right up and take their pictures of Lenny Bruce lying dead on the tiled floor. It was a terrible thing for the cops to do. Lenny hated to pose for pictures.
  3. pressboxer

    pressboxer Active Member

    The high school football team I cover has scored 38 points in all four of its games this season.

    This week's lead: There’s something to be said for consistency, but this is starting to get a little freaky.

    Several years ago, I covered a playoff game where the lead changed hands on almost every score. The first play of the game went for a TD of about 65 yards and it was a footrace the rest of the way. Both teams scored more than 50 points in a game that went to overtime.

    My lead that night: Quick, read this story before they score again!

    The SE of a neighboring paper, who was also covering the game, was not shy about letting me know he would never let something like that run in his publication. My SE got a laugh out of it and let it go. That story wound up getting third place in the next APME regional contest.
  4. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    This is mine from my Sunday CP. Not my favorite of all time, but I enjoyed it. I initially led with the crying part of the quote, but that was changed. Thought it might have been more powerful at the top, but I think it works this way, too. I hate making people cry in interviews, but I love being able to capture their emotions.


    Mom's recovery from drug addiction set Colorado State's Antwan Scott straight

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  5. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    Also, I really loved this one from Geoff Grammer at the ABQ Journal about Craig Neal's new contract (playing off his nickname):

    "The price of Noodles just went up at the University of New Mexico ..."
  6. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    One of my favorites was from my first year in the business. I guess I peaked at 23 and have been going downhill since.

    Feature on future longtime major leaguer Jeff Suppan, his senior year of HS. He was always chewing bubblegum when he pitched

    Pop. Whiz. Pop.

    The first pop is Jeff Suppan's ever present bubblegum. The second is the catcher's mitt.

    The whiz in between is what has everyone, including big league scouts, buzzing.
  7. boxingnut4324

    boxingnut4324 Member

    Three here.

    1. Covered a football playoff game last year. It was an absolute batshit game that ended with 23 points in the final 90 seconds.

    - The ending seemed like fiction, but for Cambridge senior Shaquille Anderson the pain was visceral. In the final 90 seconds, 23 points had been scored, and when the dust settled Reading had escaped with a 29-28 win.

    As the handshake line dispersed Anderson turned left, helmet still on, towards the scoreboard. He just stared, seemingly trying to get the eight and the nine to flip places. Nothing.

    He lifted his helmet onto his forehead, turned and walked towards his team's post-game huddle. His pads on; his mouthpiece still in. At the 40-yard line he took his helmet off and 30 yards later he slid out of his pads, his electric green compression vest illuminated under the stadium lights. His mouthpiece was still in.

    The postgame stretch came and went followed by the talk from coach Ryan Saulnier. A huddle, a chant, and then it was over. Anderson still had his mouthpiece in.

    2. I just covered a volleyball match a few weeks ago. The match was pretty benign, and I had some spare time before deadline so I decided to add in as many pro wrestling references I could. This was my lede.

    - Dig. Set. Kill. Repeat.

    3. Best lede ever was written by Wright Thompson who wrote a blog series during the most recent World Cup.

    - There's shit in the water.
  8. Ellgee

    Ellgee Member

    It went something like this:
    "Monday's game was so important for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi that even the school president took a charge."

    There was a big fight after the game, following the teams shaking hands. Right in front of me, as I was filing my first edition, 5-minutes after the game copy, Murray State's guard pushed an A&M-Corpus Christi guard in the back. The A&M-CC guard, a very tough guy, muscular guy, turned around, put his fists at his side and stormed toward the offender. The Murray State guy backpedaled through a crowd (for A&M-CC) of fans and bigwigs who were on the court and plowed straight into A&M-CC's school president, who went tumbling to the floor.

    I made a crack to one of the university's officials about the school president not being able to take a charge and then thought that just might work.
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