David Kirkpatrick

March 1, 2008

Lede and graf

Filed under: et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:04 am

With the advent of blogs and such, most readers likely know the definition of “lede” and “graf.” I use both occasionally and offer this post as an explanation for anyone who might not know.

Lede is simply an alternate spelling of lead, as in “Obama’s leading the race.” It’s a journalism term that specifically refers to the opening graf or so of a story. In newspaper reporting a well-written piece should hit the reader immediately with all the important details and tail off to the least important. That means all a reader needs to read to understand the story is the lede.

Extra factoid — newspaper writing is constructed this way because the bottom of the story might be physically chopped off at any point to make the story fit the page. As long as the details — who, where, why, how, etc. — are in the opening several sentences, the story can lose a few inches without losing any of the “story.”

Graf is very simple. It’s just a shortened version of paragraph.

At one point in time you probably needed to have gone to j-school, or worked as a journalist, to have any familiarity with the terms. Especially lede. Nowadays many bloggers fit one, or both, of the above qualifications and regularly use both words.

Hell, the New York Times calls its blog “The Lede.” 

1 Comment »

  1. […] Florida in Orlando, LCD, Applied Physics Letters — davidkirkpatrick @ 10:44 pm From the lede — displays could become brighter, lighter, and […]

    Pingback by Nanotech and better LCD displays « David Kirkpatrick — October 3, 2008 @ 10:44 pm


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