Posted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:54 pm
When did the opening sentence in a straight news article change from lead to lede, as in burying the lede?
Posted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:11 am
I can't answer the question directly but I might be able to put a floor under it. The 1977 item in the link below uses "bury the lead" in the sense you ask about
https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=3Ix ... AQ6AEIKTAA
The usual story to justify the change of "lead" to "lede" relates to the use of linotype machines to set type in newspapers and magazines. But since the linotype was invented in 1884 and then started GOING OUT OF USE in the 1970s and 80s, this example of "lead" instead of "lede" in 1977 doesn't support that story. I can't fine any examples of "bury the lede" on the n-gram viewer although there are many archaic examples of "lede" alone where we would now use "lead" for either the metal or the verb.
In short, this spelling "lede" for "lead" actually seems to be a fairly recent development.
Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:35 pm
I'm pretty sure "lead" as the introductory sentence for a news article comes from the idea of a leading sentence as the one that opens the first paragraph (aka "graph"). In coversation it can be expanded the opening paragraph or two as in "How do you propose to lead into the story?" Jounalism courses recommend the opening sentence answer as many questions as possible from who, what, when, where, why, and how. Burying the lead, or lede, risks getting it chopped off if the makeup artists need to chop the story to make it fit. And don't you hate to see a headline that requires you to read half the story before you understand where it came from?