lede ˈlēd noun
: the introductory section of a story
The word lede has appeared in 13 articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on Jan. 15 in “Watch Your Lapels: These Great Ledes Are Coming for Them” by Marc Lacey:
The “lede” is the first paragraph of a newspaper story. It can be ponderous and downright dull. Or it can grab you by the lapels, pull you close and scream into your face: Read this.
On the National desk, we began a tradition recently of honoring the “lede of the week.” We scrawl a particularly graceful lede in longhand on a white board that is visible to those coming and going from the newsroom. And we post the winning ledes on Twitter, where they regularly get loads of retweets.