Kristen Hare

Journalist whose own mother died in Afghanistan maintains connection with AP’s Kathy Gannon

The Washington Post
On Friday, freelance writer Tracee Herbaugh wrote about the death of her mother for The Washington Post. Sharon Herbaugh, an Associated Press bureau chief, died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 1993. Herbaugh wrote about learning of the April 4 shooting of two AP staff in Afghanistan. Photographer Anja Niedringhaus died in that shooting, and reporter Kathy Gannon was injured.
Hearing of the attack on Kathy, who was seriously wounded and remains hospitalized in Germany, felt like my life had come full circle in a single moment. In 1993, my mother, Sharon Herbaugh, was the first woman bureau chief for the Associated Press to die while on assignment. In the days following the crash, the phone at my grandparents’ home in Colorado rang nonstop with calls from State Department officials, friends and journalists from all over the world. Kathy took charge of maintaining communication between my family and the AP. She also oversaw the return of Sharon’s body back home, to a farming town on the dusty plains of southeast Colorado.
Gannon has been hospitalized in Germany since the shooting.

"Kathy continues to undergo hospital treatment as part of her recovery," Paul Colford, director of AP Media Relations, told Poynter in an e-mail.

In her story, Herbaugh wrote about her own complicated relationship with her mother, becoming a journalist herself, and her continuing relationship with Gannon.
In the two decades that have followed Sharon’s death, Kathy has maintained a regular presence in my life. I exchanged e-mails with her only two days before she was attacked on the eve of Afghanistan’s elections. Much of what I know about my mother I’ve learned from Kathy. And she was often a source of support as my grandmother and I navigated the grieving process.

TLDR finds the guy who shared his passwords in the comments section

On The Media
On The Media's Alex Goldman went out in search of that guy who posted his passwords in the comments section of a Washington Post story about the Heartbleed bug. Naturally, his accounts were then hijacked.

Goldman started with Twitter, he explained on Friday on TLDR's episode called "What Happens When You Tell The Whole Internet Your Password." Goldman found the woman who gained access to Y. Woodman Brown's account, and she talked to him. That led him to the man himself, who, it turns out, isn't really that much of a risk taker.

"You won't find me bungee jumping," he said. (more...)

Photojournalist Maggie Steber’s first job was with the Galveston Daily News. She spoke about her career with Jim Colton in an April 15 piece for the National Press Photographers Association. The work wasn’t that interesting, she told Colton, but how she got the job was.

I went to apply for the job of photographer-reporter at the paper. The managing editor told me it was a night position and better suited for a man in case my car broke down or I got attacked. They were already considering two men for the job.

I asked the editor to wait 24 hours before hiring anyone. Then I went out and found a story that, by accident, was rather controversial; concerning a historic operating theater that was about to be torn down at the UT Medical School in Galveston. I photographed the theater; it was a beautiful old wooden theater in the round with sunlight pouring in through the slatted windows. I interviewed students and townsfolk about the theater’s fate, stayed up all night writing and printing photos, and slapped the whole thing on the managing editor’s desk the next morning at 9am.

He read the story, looked at the photos, and looked up at me and said, ‘The job is yours! Neither of those other male candidates would have gone to this much trouble and find a story I can use on the front page in tomorrow’s paper.’ It was published the next morning.

Maggie Steber


‘Gracias, Gabo’: Newspapers remember Gabriel García Márquez

Here's how newspapers around the world remembered Gabriel García Márquez on Friday, a day after the writer's death.

El Territorio, Posadas, Argentina:

Correio Braziliense, Brasilia, Brazil:


Gallery of good ledes, recommendation edition

"When they heard the screams, no one suspected the rooster," Kelley Benham French wrote in the St. Petersburg Times in 2002. "Dechardonae Gaines, 2, was toddling down the sidewalk Monday lugging her Easy Bake Oven when she became the victim in one of the weirder animal attack cases police can recall."
It's one of my all-time favorite ledes and a refreshing read after the last few days of sharing bad ledes, which I requested and a lot of people shared. Luckily, the same thing happened with the good stuff. While pulling this post together on Thursday, we learned of the death of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Vox memorialized the writer with a look at the opening sentence of "100 Years of Solitude." Like that one, some of these are a sentence. Some are a paragraph, even two or three. But in whatever form they take, good ledes are hard to forget.

Especially this next one.

Denise Zapata, senior editor at EdSource, sent it in.

One warm spring night in 2011, a young man named Travis Hughes stood on the back deck of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house at Marshall University, in West Virginia, and was struck by what seemed to him—under the influence of powerful inebriants, not least among them the clear ether of youth itself—to be an excellent idea: he would shove a bottle rocket up his ass and blast it into the sweet night air. And perhaps it was an excellent idea. What was not an excellent idea, however, was to misjudge the relative tightness of a 20-year-old sphincter and the propulsive reliability of a 20-cent bottle rocket. What followed ignition was not the bright report of a successful blastoff, but the muffled thud of fire in the hole. -- Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic (more...)

OK, now let’s read some good ledes

That was fun. Thanks for sharing your bad ledes, and I hope you enjoyed a few of ours.
Let's take this thing one step further now and talk about good ledes. Luckily, Poynter faculty and staff have done good work gathering some now and then. If you're particularly proud of a good lede of your own, or you've seen one that's memorable, send it to me at or @kristenhare on Twitter (with links if possible), and I'll start a collection.

-- In 2012, Poynter's Roy Peter Clark shared tips for writing a good lede. As part of a live chat with that piece, Clark points out several good ledes, including this: (more...)
Businessman touching Delete button on a virtual screen.

And now for some really bad ledes

These bad ledes don't need another one introducing them, so let's keep it simple. We asked for your bad ledes. You sent them. Enjoy.
"My worst lede was my first lede," Jim Morrison, a reporter with Wicked Local Newton in Massachusetts, wrote in an email.

The meeting began when a quorum was reached.

When he was a freshman sportswriter for the student newspaper, "I wrote this horrible lede in a story about a javelin thrower being behind the curve from the rest of the track team because she couldn't compete during indoor season," wrote Robby Korth, a journalism student at the University of Nebraska and an intern at the Lincoln Journal Star.

Mrs. Brady told her children not to play ball in the house. In the winter, the NCAA tells its competitors not to throw javelins.

This one's from Andy Boyle, a news applications developer at the Chicago Tribune.

The house on 53rd Street and Huntington Avenue stood motionless. From the south side of the building, nothing looked out of the ordinary except for the police barricades that were set up.

"How does a house stand other than motionless, Andy?" Boyle wrote in his e-mail. "Can it dance? Perhaps sit at a funny angle?" (more...)
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Bring out your bad ledes

Ah, journalism. On a crisp, bright morning in St. Petersburg, Fla., my News University colleagues and I started talking about bad ledes. When it comes to bad ledes, the dictionary defines them as -- OK, that's enough.
You know what a bad lede* looks like. They often involve cliches or tired tropes or slightly twisted song lyrics. In my case, the Bible played a role. Here's one of my own, from a 2004 story in The St. Joseph News-Press.

"To every fruit tree, there is a season."


My editor, Andrew Beaujon, did a bit of digging and found one of his own, from 2003 story for SPIN. "Please emphasize I'm sure I've written many worse ledes," he told me. He's written way worse ledes.
There are two kinds of music fans: those who are honest about what they like and those who claim to like everything. The latter were everywhere at the second annual Bonnaroo Music Festival, a jam-band event for people who claim there's no such thing as jam bands. But the thing is they're kind of right-as shrinking radio playlists and cash-strapped major labels leave more and more artists behind, more mainstream performers are following the jam movement's lead. Considering that Bonnaroo's 80,000 tickets sold out in 17 days, "going jam" seems like a wise career move.

Got one of your own to share? Tweet them, share them on our Facebook page or e-mail them to me,, and we'll pull together bad lede buffet. I'd also love to hear your bad lede peccadillos. If you ever wanted to share your bad stuff, this post is for you. (The bad ledes in this post came from a few people who joined in on some bad ledeing this morning on Twitter. Thanks to them!)

*After even more naval-gazing, we decided to use the jargony term "lede" rather than the far more clear "lead" to refer to the first sentence of an article. In 2011, Steve Myers rounded up some of the strong feelings people have about "lede" vs. "lead."

Iraq most likely place for journalists to be killed without consequences

Committee to Protect Journalists | Reporters Without Borders
In the last decade, 100 journalists have been murdered in Iraq, and 100% of their killers got away with it, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists 2013 Global Impunity Index, released Wednesday.
With 100 journalists murdered in the last decade and 100 percent impunity, Iraq is the worst offender on the Impunity Index, a spot it has held since 2008, when CPJ first compiled the index. Nine new murders in late 2013 amid a resurgence of militant groups broke a two-year quiescence in fatal anti-press violence. Three of the victims, plus two media workers, were killed in a single attack when armed militants bombed and stormed Salaheddin TV station in Tikrit on December 23. Al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack, according to news reports accusing it of warring against the Sunni people. Impunity Index Rating: 3.067 unsolved journalist murders per million inhabitants Last year: Ranked 1st with a rating of 2.818

In the No. 2 spot sits Somalia. Syria joined the list this year at No. 5. Afghanistan is No. 6, and according to the report, that country is "one of the few countries where fatalities among foreign journalists are higher than for local journalists." (The Associated Press' Anja Niedringhaus was killed there on April 4th.) (more...)

Thunderdome hosts informal job fair for employees

For most of the staff at Digital First Media's Project Thunderdome, Thursday will be the last day at work.
But over bagels and coffee Wednesday morning or a drink Wednesday evening, they might meet their next employer. From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thunderdome's hosting an informal networking event in New York to help connect their journalists with new jobs. The event will also feature a space to engage in an online chat with the 12 staff members located around the country.

Mandy Jenkins, Thunderdome's managing editor, said in a phone interview with Poynter that most of the major media organizations in New York will have someone at the event.

For Jenkins, who worked at the now-defunct TBD, this is her second time to be laid off.

"I have never seen people in such good spirits when they're being laid off," she said. (more...)