Critique, online content, Sept. 24-29

We’re going to focus the online content critique on two specific writing issues that have jumped out at me: ledes and story structure 0f the first few grafs.

With ledes and the opening grafs, it helps to remember that we need to get right to the point of telling people what is going on. It doesn’t mean that we can’t have a nice, simple elegant lede, but it needs to serve a purpose.

I’ll start off with three that I really enjoyed and tell you why:

On Madalyn’s story: It rained money yesterday for the North Texas Day of Giving.

This lede is short but it tells us plenty: what happened, when it happened. It gets the name of the event in the lede. And it whets our appetite for more information in the second graf:

The 18-hour online donation event raised $1,042,600 from 4,400 donors for more than 100 Arlington charities and nonprofits, said Carolyn Mentesana, Arlington Tomorrow Foundation executive director. This is the third and largest giving day event the foundation has had, she said.

On Kevin’s Oozeball story: As enrollment continues to grow at UTA, so does the number of participants in one of the university’s most popular events, Oozeball.

This lede gives us immediate info on the growing UTA student population and tells us that the university’s events also are affected by that growth. And it tells us about what we’re referring to, Oozeball. It is specific enough to tell us something but still saves something for the second graf. The next graph provides more:

Campus Recreation’s annual mud volleyball tournament had a record of 106 teams registered and more than 600 participants, said Drew Barfield, intramural sports assistant director. 

On Nick’s Cyclethon story: Students put their hearts to the test to spread awareness and raise money for an important cause Monday.

The lede tells us just enough to capture interest but still tells us what happened and who it happened to. The next graph tells more:

Health Services hosted its ninth annual Cyclethon event in the Maverick Activities Center. Students formed teams to exercise on stationary bikes for 12 hours straight to raise awareness about heart health and money for the Tarrant County American Heart Association, which was also present at the event.

What we don’t need—because the writing is not sufficient and the reader is not served—are ledes that are too general or vague.

Consider:

“Making a change starts with the individual.”

“A new university administrative position has been filled.”

These ledes don’t tell us enough and don’t give us a chance to build on anything in the second graph.

Let’s continue to be deliberate with our ledes, write them because they’re fun but also informative and consider where we’re going next. Writing needs to be deliberate and specific to be effective.

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