I always thought this:
The most important structural element of a story is the lede or lead—the story’s first, or leading, sentence. The lede is usually the first sentence, or in some cases the first two sentences, and is ideally 20-25 words in length … While a rule of thumb says the lede should answer most or all of the 5 Ws, few ledes can fit all of these.
After reading the Globe, today, I think it means this:
The first paragraph of an article where a reporter tries to lead the reader into thinking or believing something, even when the facts suggest the opposite, or are contrary, or are inconclusive, or don’t support the journalist’s argument.
If you were skimming the newspaper today, you might spend a second reading the first or second paragraph of this article:
Bankruptcy filings have surged 22 percent in Massachusetts this year, as more people are unable to afford their rising mortgage payments or refinance their homes to pay bills, according to court filings and bankruptcy attorneys.
You might therefore come to the conclusion, logically, that 1) more people are filing bankruptcy due to 2) higher mortgage loan payments.
Of course, if you read to paragraph five or six, you’d read this:
Nathan Maingi filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection last year to try to save his two-story house in Gardner. A recent immigrant from Kenya, Maingi fell behind after a divorce.
His monthly payments rose, eventually hitting $2,600, compared with $1,200 on the original, fixed-rate loan. He was also laid off from his state government job. [emphasis, mine]
Maingi tried to sell the house but failed and eventually converted his filing to a Chapter 7 to liquidate his assets.
The number one, two, and three reasons someone loses his/her home? Primary wage-earner loses job, primary wage-earner gets sick or dies, and death, sickness or job loss by another family member.
Source: Many more going bankrupt – By By Kimberly Blanton and Todd Wallack, The Boston Globe