7/18/2005 Add a comment

The anecdotal lead (or "lede" in journo-spelling), is an overused device that tries hard to bring a reader into a person's life to illustrate something of broader significance. The writer hopes you will identify with the person like you would a fictional character and read the story all the way through. But it's the particularly breathless, severe, and even end-of-the-world quality of the anecdotal lead that makes this McSweeney's parody work so well. All of you journalists out there will laugh hard, then realize that you yourself have written bad anecdotal leads about the hardship of bad traffic or hot weather. It's okay. The first step to recovery is recognition. William