Every now and then, I come across an article with a killer lead sentence, like this one, by Anthony Daniels, in the latest issue of the new U.K. mag Standpoint:
On a recent short flight, an air hostess offered a snack to an enormously fat American lady sitting next to me.
Or this one, from James Angelos’s recent Times article about a schoolbus skirmish on Staten Island that provoked an eleven million dollar lawsuit:
It began with a bean.
All the President’s Men these ain’t; but they’re sharp and funny and worthy of comment. I always want to share ledes like these when I find them. To that end, I’ve created the #goodlede tag on Twitter. Whenever I see a story with a particularly funny, insightful, or otherwise striking lede, I’ll post it, along with a link to the full story, and I’ll preface each of these posts with the #goodlede hash tag. (My username is “justintrevett”.)
If you see a good lede of your own, and if you’re signed up with Twitter, you should do the same. (You can easily track all posts featuring that particular tag by searching for #goodlede at search.twitter.com.) If enough people participate, we might post the best ledes of the week in a regular Friday roundup here at CJR. Regardless, it’ll be a good way to tip people off to some good journalism—or, at least, some funny first lines.Justin Peters is editor-at-large of the Columbia Journalism Review.