This article, by the Associate Press, explains how blue lights are used in Mennonite and Amish communities in Pennsylvania to treat a rare genetic disease. These small and isolated religious groups are forbidden to marry outside of their religion, which severly limits their gene pool. These limitiations have caused a number of extremely rare diseases to occur more frequently than normal in the communities. One of these disease, Crigler-Najjar syndrom, occurs when the body fails to produce an enzyme that breaks down bilirubin, a naturally occuring waste product produced by worn-out red blood cells. The waste builds up in the body and can lead to brain damage and death. There are 110 known cases of this disease in the world and about 35 of them are in the United States. Over 20 are within the Amish and Mennonite communities in Pennsylvania. The article highlights the struggle for these traditional families to chose between traditional, simple living and saving their children's lives. It also discusses the dillema families face to pay for medical treatment because their beliefs forbid them from accepting government assisstance. The article explains the disease in an informative but easy-to-understand, relatable manner.
I chose to highlight this article for my extended blog for two reasons: first, I liked the way the author used the lede to set up the rest of the story; second, the lede is written is such as way that it draws the reader into the piece. The author uses the lede not only to set up the rest of the story factually, laying out what the article will discuss and who the article involves, but it also sets up the tone of the article. The lede is longer than a traditional lede would be, but this is because the author picked a narrative voice to draw the reader into the story. Through description and using a real life example to humanize what could be a rather dry story, the author shows in the lede that this article will be informative but interesting at the same time. The lede also draws the reader into the story by setting up the scene for the article and identifying some of the basic people involved in the story. However, the best device used to draw the reader into the story in the lede is the author's choice to leave the source and purpose of the blue lights a mystery for the reader. The reader does not find out where the blue light is coming from and why these people are using a blue light until they read further into the story.