Lead: Democrats Indicate Areas of Compromise on Stimulus (New York Times, Sunday February 1)
The lead plays a crucial role in the story's consumption. It is its title, its label, its only form of identification to the eye and chance of being read. This, and all leads, usually work to summarize all the key information of the story; to indicate what about it is newsworthy and why its important and deserving of being read. It gives only the most crucial pieces(who/what/where/when/why).
This particular lead does just that. It says WHAT occured, which is the most important aspect and the news of this story. It also says WHO is involved in the WHAT. The what and the action of the story being that areas of compromise on the stimulus have been indicated, and that the democrats(who) have indicated it. The what/action of the story is the detailed area that takes up most of the lead; not just that the Democrats indcated something, not just that they indicated areas of compromise, but that they the Democrats indicated areas of compromise on the stimulus. The who is simple, being the democrats. The part most general would probably be the word stimulus. It assumes understanding and knowledge of the large economic stimulus plan that is going through the legislative branch at the moment.
Overall, this is an effective lead. The lead is the story's only chance of being read; it is the story's only representation. It indicates what I will be reading. And this lead does everything it supposed to. It tells me exactly what I need to know: what the story is about and why what about the story is important. From there, it turns everything over to me as a reader(as its supposed to) to make a decision about whether or not I will read it.