Impact, Interest, Accuracy: What a Lead Needs

1. “Opus Development Co.’s proposal to build a six-story, 259-bed student apartment building on Locust Street between Seventh and Eighth streets downtown has created a civic drama that has unfolded over several months.”

This story comes out as seriously accurate; for a reader with just a vague idea of what the Opus deal is all about, this lead makes them comfortable with what they’re reading. The story itself doesn’t quite have a strong impact, so the lead can’t quite make it up in that department. There isn’t really anything lasting or human interest-y that could offer a kind of impact. It does create a bit of interest for me– the idea of a civic drama certainly gets my attention. The idea of a tiered, frustrating conflict over some simple construction seems a little odd.

Great on accuracy, almost non-existent for impact, good for interest.

2. “As he was lowering the flag to half-staff, a Boone County maintenance worker fell into the dome of the Boone County Courthouse and was trapped for nearly an hour and a half before Columbia firefighters were able to lower him to safety Thursday morning.”

I’ve got a few questions for this story– namely, how do you fall into a dome? Wouldn’t you roll off? It’s got my interest in terms of why the guy was trapped, but the accuracy is confusing me. Upon further review, I can see the little flat area/dip on the top of the dome. The story mentions that, “The man was trapped in a narrow area inside the dome on top of the courthouse,” but that doesn’t offer much more clarity. Inside the dome? Did he break through?

Admittedly, I’m pretty slow on the intake, but the question that drew me into the story was never quite answered. I never got a clear idea of what happened exactly. That’s just a small piece of this lead though. It does a fine job of putting the details out for the reader and aside from my misunderstanding of the dome, clarifies every detail of what happened. The impact is there too; the idea of falling and being trapped is terrifying and very easily sticks with the reader. He was rescued, so I’ve got the entire idea of the story without too much of the specifics.

Okay on accuracy, good on impact, good on interest.

3. “There’s a place this weekend where you can overcome your fear of snakes, taste insects and race cockroaches.”

This lead immediately makes the reader question what they just read. Eating bugs and racing roaches is hardly standard newsfare– what else is in this bizarre story? It obviously gets my interest and leaves a bit of an impact. The idea of tasting insects is hard to forget and something as weird as racing cockroaches is just as foreign an idea. I’m curious and want to find out why in the world things like this are happening. Although the article doesn’t expand on bug races, it covers the other two bits well enough to satisfy the readers attention.

Fine on accuracy, fine on impact, good on interest.

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