Passports Now Mandatory For Border Crossing
Beginning Tuesday international travelers returning from Canada, Mexico, or countries in the Caribbean will be need passports in order to pass through customs upon return to the United States.
The lead of this story is very tricky in that it is difficult to get an average reader interested in a story about passport requirements. In this story, reported by the Associated Press and posted by the Star Tribune, the reporter, Chris Welsch, elected to delay the real lead of the story into the second paragraph. Welsch elected to describe what life might be like if you were in a country like Mexico in the first paragraph instead as an effort to get the reader to imagine what it would be like if you neglected your passport. It is the second paragraph that really gives the point of the story with regards to the who (international travelers to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean), when (Tuesday), where (the United States), and what (will need passports to re-enter the United States). The why question, isn’t really involved in the lead but it is almost implied that the government has instituted new the new rules requiring passports.
A different version, also done by the Associated Press, was posted by the Pioneer Press. This story, written by Giovanna Dell’Orto, had a lead that was placed in the very opening paragraph and was much more specific and to the point. Not only did this lead get to all of the major questions of the article (who, what, and when), it also gave a very brief and vague explanation of why. The point of this story was that there were very few problems that were encountered because of the new passport rule which allows the reader increased understanding of the issue being reported.
A new rule requiring U.S. airline passengers to show a passport upon their return from Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean took effect Tuesday, with few reports of stranded travelers.
I found that both stories served different purposes in their intents, however, I felt like the Dell’Orto story had a more appropriate lead because it was placed as the very beginning of the story. While the Welsch story was acceptable, I felt that I was being treated childishly by the way that Welsch decided to handle the lead. I felt that Dell’Orto’s choice of lead placement was simply more fitting and I appreciated the advanced knowledge of what the topic and point of the story was. The lead in both of these stories, despite occuring in different places within the story, serve to inform the reader of the most vital information regarding the story in an effort to interest the reader and get the reader to read about the less major details of the story. Both leads occur in the very early portions of the story, however, Dell'Orto's version is the one that placed the direct lead in the very opening paragraph.