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Analysis - Leads

The following is a lead from an article in the New York Times about a train crash in Los Angeles: "A freight train collided with a rush-hour commuter train in Los Angeles on Friday evening, killing at least 18 people and injuring scores of others, many of them critically."
This lead works for the story because it states the most important facts of the story such as what happened, where it happened, when it happened, and and the results of what happened. It summarized the most important parts of the story in one sentence.
Even though it is only a summary of the story, it still describes certain details such as the type of trains that collided and the number of people that died. In this case, those details worked for this particular lead because the fact that a freight train collided with a rush-hour commuter train shows that obviously many people were involved and the fact that it states the number of people that died also catches reader's attention.
The lead is also somewhat general because it doesn't state certain details such as where in Los Angeles, how the trains crashed, or what kinds of injuries people suffered.
The lead is a straightforward hard-news lead because it only gives the most important details of the story to catch readers' attention.