By Libby Ryan
Instead of using a hard news lead, the writer of a technology story for the New York Times chose to briefly describe a unique young woman choosing to opt out of college.
The short profile on Eden Full serves as a window into the story, drawing readers in where a factual lead might not. A factual lead simply would state what is happening in the current job market; the lead used in this story gives a face to the changes facing college students and young adults.
The story focuses around the choices college students are making and is supplemented by facts. A hard news lead would be better suited for a story focused on the facts that are making the students choose the paths they do.
The lead describes what a typical college student would be doing. It sets up a reader to expect the unexpected and draws them to read further. Then in the second paragraph, it lets the reader be surprised with the direction the story goes next.