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They allow the writer to tell a story in a more traditional, narrative way.
The objective, of course, is to draw the reader into the story, to make them Dressed in a crisp polo shirt and swathed in cologne, he races his Nissan Maxima through the rain-slicked streets of Manhattan, late for a date with a tall brunette. Notice how Elliott effectively uses phrases like “crisp polo shirt” and “rain-slicked streets.” We don’t yet know exactly what this article is about, but we’re drawn into the story through these descriptive passages.
But much of the writing found in any newspaper is done in a much more feature-oriented way.
Writing ledes for feature stories is a very different craft than writing hard-news ledes.
So now we know – this is the story of a Brooklyn imam who helps bring young Muslim couples together for marriage.
Elliott could just as easily have written the story with a hard-news lede something like this: That’s certainly quicker.
The people who died at the Reina nightclub spanned continents, cultures and religions.
Of the 39 people confirmed to have died, 24 were foreign nationals: seven Saudis, two Indians, one Canadian, one Syrian, one Israeli, two Morrocans, three Lebanese, two Tunisians, one dual Belgian-Turkish national and four Iraqis.
Not everything over there is fully functional yet, and the internal links still point to this blog, and will for the indefinite future.
It usually follows the first few paragraphs of the scene-setting or story-telling the writer has done. Here’s Andrea Elliott’s lede again, this time with the nutgraf included: Dressed in a crisp polo shirt and swathed in cologne, he races his Nissan Maxima through the rain-slicked streets of Manhattan, late for a date with a tall brunette. Week after week, Muslims embark on dates with him in tow. Shata, the imam of a Bay Ridge mosque, juggles some 550 "marriage candidates," from a gold-toothed electrician to a professor at Columbia University.
The meetings often unfold on the green velour couch of his office, or over a meal at his favorite Yemeni restaurant on Atlantic Avenue.