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Mary Tyler Moore House for Sale after Renovation

http://www.startribune.com/417/story/1018551.html

http://wcco.com/local/local_story_033164709.html

The Star Tribune article, “Mary never lived here…but you could for $3.6 million,? tells the story of the Minneapolis couple who bought the Mary Tyler Moore house in Minneapolis’ Kenwood neighborhood. The couple bought the house with the intension to fix it up and resell it, and the article documents in great detail what the couple did to fix the house while referencing how the house was portrayed on the show.

This writer handled the challenge of developing a lead by writing a delayed lead. The writer’s lead says, “Don Gerlach was paging through a newspaper a couple years ago when a postage stamp-sized photo of a house in an ad caught his eye. It read: ‘Queen Anne Victorian. Needs updating.? This is an example of a delayed lead because the writer intentionally buried the lead by beginning with an anecdote to draw the readers in. The fifth paragraph is the nut graph because in this paragraph the writer summarizes the news that the house is up for sale after being renovated for two years, and the mention of the renovation transitions into the rest of the article where the writer discusses all the renovations.

The WCCO article, “Mary Tyler Moore House for Sale,? also discusses the renovations of the house with another type of alternative lead: the question lead. This lead says, “Want to own a piece of Minnesota history? It will just cost you a few million -- $3.62 million to be exact -- for the newly renovated Mary Tyler Moore house.? According to the Fedler book, the question lead is effective if it is brief, simple, specific, provocative, contains less than a dozen words, and the readers will feel compelled to answer it. Therefore, the lead is effective because it is short with 8 words, specific since it asks one simple question, and compelling because most readers would probably be interested in owning something of value, and provocative because it leaves the reader wanting to know more. However, Fedler also says not to ask questions that will turn away readers and since the reader sarcastically says, “It will just cost you a few million- $3.62 to be exact…,? this could turn away readers who may not be interested in reading about a house they know they couldn’t afford.

In my opinion, both the alternative leads were successful for the types of stories the writers were writing. The Star Tribune writer’s delayed lead was effective because the anecdote drew the reader into the article, and starting from the beginning when the couple first found out about the house easily transitioned into discussing the following renovations. I think the WCCO writer’s question lead was effective because it followed the rules of what Fedler describes as an effective question lead. I don’t think the possibility of turning away readers by saying how much money the house is was a problem because the headline blatantly states that the article’s about the Mary Tyler Moore house being for sale and I think many people who are not interested in the house would still be interested to read it since it is a prominent tv house in the local area. Also I think the question lead was effective because the article is a feature and not a hard news story, and it draws the reader into the article.


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