Avoiding the perils of bad ledes

As a recent Deadspin parody reminds us, clichéd thinking can generate hilariously inappropriate story tops. Watch out.

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If you’ve ever been bothered by all the bad ledes out there, you’re not alone. Welcome to the world of modern journalism and corporate writing.

We at Ragan Communications found ourselves reflecting on bad ledes this week—and cringing at our own past offences—after Deadspin‘s The Concourse scoffed, “Here Is The Worst Lede About Chicago Gun Violence. We Tried To Top It.”

Deadspin writers parodied a piece by Tribune Media syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, who wrote (typo included):

Frank Sinatra’s song about Chicago, “My Kind of Town,” “a the town that won’t let you down,” seems dated in light of last weekend’s shooting spree that left 16 dead and dozens wounded in 53 separate incidents. According to the Chicago Tribune, “The victims were among 82 people shot between Thursday afternoon and early Monday.”

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