How Not to Write a Lede

In journalism, the lede is the first sentence or two of a story. It’s spelled that way to disambiguate it from the various meanings of the word “lead.” The lede’s job is to summarize the story as succinctly as possible while inviting the reader to read further. Some ledes, however are better than others:

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane City Council will discuss a proposed ordinance that would make unlawful public exposure a criminal misdemeanor on Monday night.

Taken literally, if you feel like engaging in some good-old-fashioned public nudity in Spokane, don’t do it on a Monday. Wait until Tuesday. Or, if it’s Sunday night, hurry up and get out there! Unfortunately for exhibitionists, one doubts this was the reporter actually meant to say.

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