By Shannon Corrigan
A lead that stood out to me as being exceptional is from the Washington Post's story on Jack Jablonski. The lead is as follows: "Swishing skates. Clacking sticks. Pucks pinging off the goal pipe. The sound of hockey is unmistakable." This is not a straightforward hard-news lead, but rather a sensational lead. The story is about a 16-year-old hockey player who was paralyzed after being checked through the glass at a junior varsity hockey game, and his family's attempt to make hockey safer. It's a news story that is used to provoke emotion and inspire the reader, not necessarily to simply lay out the facts. The reporter chose this lead to do just that, to engage and relate to the reader, in order to tell a heartfelt, inspirational story.
This lead doesn't use the basic hard-news lead elements we talked about in class. It provides imagery into the scene of a hockey arena, basically what the story is focused on. It doesn't describe when, why, or how, nor does it need to. The lead itself is specific. It describes the specific sounds of hockey, provoking the reader to hear the sounds while reading.
The title of this piece is "Jack's Journey: As Minneapolis Teen Tries to Walk Again, Mission to Make Hockey Safer Moves On." Instead of the lead telling us about the story, the title takes care of the who, what, and why. This reporter developed this lead to engage the reader whose attention was caught by the title.