February 1, 2013 by ehempstead
What opening should I use for today’s blog post? Today, I’ll be looking at leads and openings. We will test our knowledge on their effectiveness and type, through a variety of articles.
First, “The Boy With a Thorn in His Joints” from the New York Times.
When my son, Shepherd, was 3 years old, he and his twin brother, Beau, took soccer lessons for the first time. They were so excited that they slept in their uniforms — a purple T-shirt with a yellow star kicking the ball with one of its points — the night before their first practice. But when we got to the field the next day, Shepherd’s enthusiasm evaporated.
This feature piece is about child health, specifically, when it is not up to the usual healthiness expected of our children. The third line here really quite effective. The reader wishes to know why there was such a discrepancy in the child’s mind between the night before and the day of. So, of course the reader will continue, especially those with children who may be very concerned about the subject matter.
However, the first paragraph here is very long, with lots of words and story set up. The third paragraph is the one that really gets to the meat of the story, with “That week we saw our pediatrician, who referred us to an orthopedist. When no injury showed up on the X-ray, the doctor said that arthritis was most likely the issue. Arthritis in a 3-year-old?”. For someone who has no child to worry about this with, it takes a lot of reading to get to the interesting parts. It’s a very non-traditional opening, and it takes forever to even get to the subject of the story. I would say that this opening is not so effective.
“Lanier to host Sweetheart Murder Mystery“, is lacking a bit in human interest, but for Madison residents the subject is well-known.
It’s the 1840s, and a prominent Madisonian has just been murdered in plain sight.
Do you think you have the detective skills to pinpoint the wrong-doer and solve the mystery? If so, here’s a starting clue: The answers lie within the Lanier Mansion.
The historic site will host a “Sweetheart Murder Mystery” from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9. The one-time, interactive event costs $15 a person. Reservations are required by Tuesday.
The first sentence sets a scene, the verb tense letting the reader know they are being set in the past, so there is no trouble of them confusing this for a literal murder. The sentences are simple, and by the third paragraph we have the information on the event. This non-traditional opening is simple and effective.
Last, the Daily Currant’s “Rush Limbaugh Denied Service at a Mexican Restaurant“. Note, this is a satirical article from a site like the Onion. The opening is actually quite traditional, and the subject is an issue of hilarious comeuppance. Racism, however, is a very serious subject, so making the opening factual is the right way to go–not that the author doesn’t poke fun at the event once getting the real facts, and what was said, out of the way. Of course, being satirical, the factual emphasis is its own effectiveness. Then again, this article might be TOO factual, since it’s extremely believable, and satire should usually be ridiculous to try to overcome that.
Of these articles, I am not sure which is the most effective. All cater to different groups, with varying levels of knowledge needed.