The importance of a good lede is clear. It sets the stage for the rest of the story. But the writer must choose how to write it. They can be direct, often leading to a template style or they can be creative and potentially wait too long to introduce the topic. As Knight makes clear, there is no one right way to write a lede. It depends on the publication, story, and writer themself. However, the writer should do their best to choose the right lede for each story.

If the news is breaking, it might be wise to put most of the information at the very top. But one must make sure that the story is both readable and invites the reader into the rest of the story.

If the news is ongoing, there is plenty of room for creativity. The more legs it grows, the less information the audience needs to know up front. Lead with an anecdote or story that intrigues the reader. It can be easy for the reader to pick up on what the story is about, because they have been reading about it for the last few days, weeks or months. At this point, they might want to slow down and read into the story more than they would have on the first day that the news broke.

There are, of course, plenty of wrong ways to write a lede, but a good writer can often find a use for these methods, if they write with care. Ultimately, it is up to the writer to care about the story. The lede is where they show the reader that they care, because if the writer doesn’t care, then the reader won’t. But if the writer both cares and shows their care up front in the lede, then the reader is far more likely to do the same.

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