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Holiday cautions

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by MTM, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. MTM

    MTM Well-Known Member


    List of what not to do between now and the end of the year. I've been guilty of using some of these early in my career, and you know some young freelancer will use them in an upcoming gamer.

    For example: “’Tis the season”: “Christmas came early” ; and “Yes, Virginia.”
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    When Halloween is on a Friday night, you have to warn the stringers in advance not to use any Trick or Treat ledes. Ugh.
  3. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    Agree with it all except the Xmas part. You'll just piss off people. Otherwise, it's spot on.
  4. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, there's a kid with the last name of Bah on one of the teams I cover, so I have no choice but to use it. Otherwise, good list.
  5. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Had the same thing some years ago with a visiting player whose last name was Christmas. Naturally, he had a great first half in a game played in early December.
    Yes, I used the "Christmas came early" lede. Yes, it was hacky. No, I don't entirely regret it.
  6. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    Was Xmas used in the hed since it was a one-column spec?
  7. lantaur

    lantaur Active Member

    I was told by my sports editor a long time ago when I was a stringer that I might think a holiday lede was original, but it wasn't. It's cliche so don't do it. I felt that was good advice.
  8. ColdCat

    ColdCat Well-Known Member

    Arbor Day ledes are totally fair game though
  9. JPsT

    JPsT Member

    Podunk knew it would be trick or tree-t during their Arbor Day showdown with North by Northwest Podunk.
  10. Mystery Meat II

    Mystery Meat II Well-Known Member

    Cliche leads seem like one of those issues that we fret about greatly that don't really register on readers' radars at all. Being professional writers, we see and have written these leads, and we make a cottage industry out of making fun of "it was a tale of two halves" and "Christmas came early" and "If you look up Concept X in the dictionary, you'll see a picture of Team/Individual Y". I do it too. It's low-hanging fruit, which means it's the best.

    But do readers care? They aren't likely to read other newspapers' high school gamers or keep a running tally of lead types that your paper has used. Yeah, you don't want three writers riffing on "Yes, Virginia, there is a ______" on the same page. But I've never gotten a complaint about a cliche lead from readers.

    If you can do better, do so. But it's not the end of the printed era if you don't.
  11. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    That kid named Christmas would've made a good feature story. How the poor guy must've hated every December of his life!! Cliched ledes are nothing compared to the bum jokes the kid must've heard starting on Thanksgiving morning until December 26.
    His parents didn't name him "Jiminy" did they?
  12. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    Agreed on Xmas.
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