Stop and think about this for a moment: How wild are things going to get -- in terms of tabloid news coverage -- if the New York Mets call up Tim Tebow?
This is not a pipe dream, even though there are elements of PR and marketing that cannot be denied. You see, Tebow has been making real progress at the plate in recent weeks, while marching through the minor leagues. And the Mets are horrible. Why not give Tebow a shot and see that happens (including ticket sales)?
But Tebow in New York City? With that media circus in mind, check out the oh-so-cheeky overture to this celebrity news story at AOL (and lots of other publications as well). What is the religion-news issue hidden in the lede?
Good things come to those who wait!
Tim Tebow, who's long expressed his wish to find the right girl for him, has struck up a romance with Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, who was crowned 2017's Miss Universe.
"She is a really special girl and I am very lucky and blessed for her coming into my life," Tebow told ESPN in a new interview. "I am usually very private with these things but I am very thankful."
Nel-Peters, 23, hails from South Africa, while 30-year-old Tebow is Florida-born and raised.
Wink, wink. Hold that thought.
Later on in this short story, there is this bite of background information, which does absolutely noting to explain the image in the lede. Concerning Tebow's history in sports and media:
His Christian faith became entwined with his public persona: After he'd graduated, the the NCAA enacted the so-called "Tebow rule," which prohibits players from writing messages on the face paint they wear under their eyes. Tebow had etched biblical verses on his.
But about that lede?
"Those who wait?" As in, "True Love Waits." As in true love waits for marriage to have sex.
So what is the question that the AOL report (and others) pushes into the reader's face, without actually addressing the issue at the heart of the click-bait urge?
Believe it or not, Tebow still doesn't mind answering the question: Is he still waiting?
As a media professional, he is frequently near microphones, so it isn't hard to find information to include in a quick story of this kind. For example, care of Sporting News in 2017, there is this:
It seems that for as long as Tim Tebow has been in the national spotlight, there has been a weird fascination with his sex life, or lack thereof.
It all started back in 2009.
Tebow was a Heisman Trophy- and national championship-winning quarterback at the University of Florida and a bona fide heartthrob. A devout Christian, Tebow lived out his faith, boldly proclaiming it in both victory and defeat as well as spending his off time on mission trips to the Philippines. A sportswriter decided to take his line of questioning between the sheets and ask Tebow at SEC Media Days prior to the start of his senior season if he was saving himself for marriage. Tebow laughed briefly, then answered succinctly, "Yes, I am."
Then, and now, journalists seem more nervous about this question than Tebow.
Why go with the wink-wink AOL lede, complete with exclamation mark? Why not write a story about the issue itself, if the Mets PR office will allow Tebow to do interviews in which he is allowed to talk about his faith?
Some readers want to praise Tebow. Others want to laugh at him. But lots of people are interested in his life and what he has to say. Same as it ever was.
Why write a lede about an issue that the story then never mentions?