There are ‘Seven Deadly Sins of Lead Writing,’ and this week’s award recipient manages to commit all seven
This is the most important sentence I’ll write in this entire article.
Why? Because it’s the first sentence. It’s my only chance to make a first impression on you, my beloved readers.
Leads are the most important group of words in any piece of writing. Leads need to get the reader off to a running start. They should smooth people into the reading process.
Most corporate leads don’t do this. They are loaded with acronyms and jargon. They lack any drama. They rarely have any real news in them.
And this month, we’re giving out our prestigious C.R.A.P. (Corporate Rhetoric Awards Program) Award to an editor who wrote what may be the worst lead we’ve ever seen.
The story itself was one of those softball “we gave an employee an award” stories. Here’s the headline:
Diane Mattier: —Loyal, dedicated and reliable.’
Ms. Mattier isn’t an employee. She’s a pet; a Golden Retriever. All of the good qualities, without any of the crotch sniffing and crapping in the yard!
But as bad as the headline is, it’s almost poetry compared to the lead. Here it is: