Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Thoughts on burying the lede

Why can't these smart, talented speakers make their ideas stick? The first villain is the natural tendency to bury the lead - to get lost in a sea of information. ... *

So why do reporters feel the "natural temptation to bury the lede*"?

Assertion: it's because we're social animals and maybe we're a little bit insecure, so when we reach a conclusion, and we want to show it to our readers, we don't want to coerce them, and we want company, especially company in which we're the expert, so we try to lead readers to our conclusion along the same path we took to get there, figuring that with someone to lead them, they'll have an easy time of it - it'll be like a field trip, they'll admire the flowers we point to along the way and the lovely path we've made for them, and then will be awestruck upon sighting the hike's destination. And it's that much more fun for us to keep them in suspense along the way.*

But instead the readers get tired and cranky when we're only partway there, because they don't see the point.

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