Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The NYTPicker's "Worst Lede Of The Day" Award Goes To Michael M. Grynbaum!

One night next summer, after the last reel unwinds and the time ticks past 2 a.m., Elaine Beverly will clock out of her job at the AMC Loews multiplex near Lincoln Center and, as she has for months, wait to catch the crosstown bus that carries her home to the far Upper East Side.

If all goes as planned, it will never arrive.


-- "Late Night Bus Cuts Keep Riders Scrambling," by Michael M. Grynbaum, posted at 11:19 a.m. today.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Too much information.

But I have to admit that I'm hooked. I'm going to go read the piece now because I want to know why the bus won't arrive.

Anonymous said...

how dramatic. Poor Elaine

PIX said...

This is why no one reads the newspapers anymore...get to the point...i have things to do today and can't wait for you to write all this crap...if there is a point, tell me up front..if there is no point, why am i here?...i will not come back tomorrow.

Roberto said...

@PIX is waiting for the 140-character TwitTimes version of the story.

I didn't go to the story, but I presume it's about some sort of late night bus bomber, and that John Travolta and Denzel Washington have been attached to play 1) disgruntled and long-suffering MTA bus rider and 2) disgruntled and long-suffering NYPD detective.

As for "the time ticks past 2 a.m." ... the "worst lede" award is well-deserved just for that.

jun said...

Actually, I found the lede compelling and read the entire story. And as I'm in Southern California, I wouldn't normally care about transit cuts in New York City.

Anonymous said...

you are wrong this time nyt. it's not a bad lede. As for the hyperventilating PIX -- i take it from his moniker he doesn't like reading much anyway.

Anonymous said...

sorry, this is an unrelated to your topic, but I was wondering why you haven't done anything on Brooks Barnes' cluelessness?

The first weekend of Avatar, he wrote a bizarrely downbeat assessment of the movie's first weekend box office, suggesting the movie was a financial failure because it hadn't set a record.

He also hints that the movie could be a "financial calamity":

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/21/movies/21box.html

I think even a fan who checks in on grosses regularly and sees a movie with astronomical exit poll results would have know that ringing the death knell before seeing the first weekday grosses was being foolish. Most other Sunday movie grosses stories painted Avatar's numbers in a good to excellent light. The stellar hold of the movie has proven the naysayers wrong.

Anonymous said...

It looks like I'm not the only one who thinks Brooks is clueless:

http://www.mcnblogs.com/thehotblog/archives/2009/12/nyt_brooks_barn.html

vancouver nyt reader said...

This is actually a pretty good lede; smart writing. What's the problem with it?

Anonymous said...

The "If all goes as planned" part smells like it was inserted by an editor. Otherwise this is a fine lede.

Anonymous said...

The problem with the lede is that it goes to such great lengths to create a narrative that makes no sense. If no bus is going to come, only an idiot is going to be waiting for one. So it's based on a false premise. the writer was so determined to lede with an anecdote that he didn't let the lack of one get his wAy. I see why people are defending it (it's technically well written) but I'm with the picker on this one. Thumbs down.

Anonymous said...

Even if the lede make sense, it wouldn't make sense.

The lede says that Elaine B. will head uptown and wait for the crosstown bus that will never arrive.

But later it says that her uptown bus service will also be cut.

So she can't head uptown (by bus, at least) to wait for the crosstown bus that will never arrive. She must first wait for the uptown bus that will never arrive.

It is also unclear whether the uptown bus (M104) will be cut during the day as well as during the night. Otherwise, why point out that the alternative, the M10, will vanish during both night and day?

If Elaine B. already faces a wait of "up to 45 minutes" for the uptown bus, it is puzzling that she hasn't explored whether the subway is quicker. It might be, even when the buses do run. Maybe she has, but the story doesn't tell us.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I'm with PIX on this one. It's overwritten. It tries too hard. Taken singularly, it's no big deal. But on a day to day basis, the paper is filled with these kind of narrative ledes when a simple who-what-when-where-why news angle would do. And in this, PIX is right: The overall effect is that the paper feels slow and talky, rather news-ish. I can't tell you how many times I've grown frustrated with these artsy ledes, and finally given up, (just skimming articles) muttering "Would you get to the point already?"

vancouver nyt reader said...

For those who are knocking the lede, you have to know that the article is about cuts to bus services, which is evident from the headline. The ""If all goes as planned" part is the twist that makes it good writing. It's not about the passenger's plans anymore, it's about the bus company's plans. I assume 99% of those who saw the original piece in context got it. I'm surprised any of you need it explained.

plagasse said...

Not to mention that film reels don't "unwind." ;-)

(Sorry, just a nit-picky former projectionist turned freelance writer here, pay me no mind.)

Anonymous said...

Poor Elaine is poor enough as is. AMC/Loews@lincoln_ctr r jerks if they don pay cabfare4stranded latenight min wagers. Tweet this you illiterate hyperactive attention deficit lobby. If some obsessive aristocrat like this nytpick character were running the cuomo bureau audit, then maybe the subduing of the petty routines of budget cutting, fund allocation, kickbacks, house of commons shutting and so forth would be making news.

Long live the M96.

Anonymous said...

when i first read the article (before reading this), i loved the lede!!!

Anonymous said...

that lede could stand to lose a few words. but i saw it (long before seeing this post) and actually liked what it was trying to do.

let's just get this out there: a straight lede on this story is a recipe for godawful. would you read something this? "As the city implements its plan to curtail crosstown bus service, some riders may be left out in the cold."

news flash: no thank-you!