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The Lede: Bury It at Your Peril

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.  For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open. (Luke 8:16b-17, NLT)

A Word For Writers

The Lede: a #devotional for #writers based on Luke 8:16-17 with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #WritingTips

When you “bury the lede,” you hide an article’s main point. 

The lede, of course, is the opening sentence or paragraph. It summarizes the article’s central idea.

A writer who buries the lede is guilty of one of two things.  The first, most common among new writers, is ignorance. All those nonessential details at the top of the article can be eliminated (or moved elsewhere) so that the article opens with the lede, thereby giving readers what they need to keep reading.

The second infraction is more insidious. A writer buries the lede to conceal pieces of information … or at the very least, sidetrack the reader away from the article’s main point. Journalists and news organizations and periodicals may not admit this deliberate attempt at distraction. Nevertheless, they bury the lede when they want to misdirect readers.

Both instances discredit the writer … and demonstrate disrespect to the reader.

Jesus said as much in the Parable of the Lamp. Like a light set on stand, the lede is placed at the top of an article in order to guide the reader through the content. 

But when you bury the lede in order to deceive, discerning readers figure out the truth anyway. “All that is secret will eventually be brought into the open” (Luke 8:17).

If you want to squander your content’s impact and alienate your readers, then bury the lede.

Otherwise, put it at the top. Lead off with your lede.

A Wise Word

Bury an article lede at your peril.

A Word To Pray

Gracious Father,

Give me a burning desire to write with clarity and truth. Show me what content to eliminate and what to move. Let me carefully discern an article’s lede and place it where it can guide the reader through the content.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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