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Friday, August 21, 2015

Express Editors Eliminate Leads

Mirroring bloggers, the editors of Express, the anorexic sister of The Washington Post, have eliminated lead paragraphs in news stories, as the following article shows:

Palmyra scholar beheaded by ISIS

Khaled al-Assas, 81, spent his life protecting the Roman-era ruins

DAMASCUS, SYRIA. The aging antiquities scholar dedicated his life to exploring and overseeing Syria's ancient ruins of Palmyra, one of the Middle East's most spectacular archeological sites.

Islamic State militants who now control the city beheaded him in a main square Tuesday after accusing him of being the "director of idols," then hung his body on a pole, witnesses and relatives said Wednesday.

Journalists used to sweat strong leads.

Pulitzer Prize winner John McPhee, in The Wall Street Journal, called the strong lead "a flashlight that shines down into the story" and, because it bears an illuminative role, "the hardest part of a story to write."

Alas, no longer.

In the race to the finish line, there are no more leads.

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