What Is a Novelty Lede in Journalism?

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In journalism, a novelty lede is any opening section for a news article that avoids the typical summary format of lede writing and attempts to grab the reader's attention through some other means. There are numerous examples of novelty ledes, including quotations, anecdotes, allusions, questions and descriptions. Novelty ledes are often used for feature stories, specialty stories and profiles.

A quote lede, as the name suggests, opens a story with a quotation designed to speak to the entire article. This might be a line from the subject being profiled or an individual who figures prominently in the story. In general, quotations should be avoided unless they are especially dynamic and capture the story's overall theme.

A description lede opens the piece with an extended description of a person, a place or an event. This description may serve to highlight a key point in the story, such as an account of a crumbling school building used to open an article about educational inequality. It may also serve to provide detail that inserts readers into the story, such as an opening that focuses on descriptions of the crowd at a tense political event.

An allusion relates the subject of the article to characters or events from history or fiction. For example, a star athlete competing in a championship game might be compared to Napoleon battling at Waterloo.