Journalism isn’t always this trivial—or shouldn’t be—but renewed debate
among editors and writers on which spelling of the word is correct is a
reminder of what’s most important.
Credit the great Romenesko (via Bleacher Report)
for rehashing this age-old debate on whether to refer to the first
sentence of an article as the “lead” or, harkening back to the days of
“Some years ago, researching the evolution of ‘objective journalism,’ I
cracked open many of these old books, and something struck me — in none
of these old books did any author spell the word ‘lede.’ They all spell
“It was then I realized, there is no historic basis for the spelling of a
lead as ‘lede.’ ‘Lede’ is an invention of linotype romanticists, not
something used in newsrooms of the linotype era.
“It’s really emblematic of today’s print nostalgia, too — like Desi and
Lucy sleeping in separate beds — a longing for an America that never
was, or wasn’t quite what you thought it was.”
Perhaps pathetically, I still remember ledes (or leads) that I’m
particularly proud of. “In cod they trust” for a story about a
husband/wife team of scentless fish oil innovators was a particular
My advice to fellow writers: Doesn’t matter how you spell the word, as long as the ones you write are good.
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