We find it interesting that the Associated Press, in what Editor & Publisher Magazine calls "a break with tradition" will now offer its newspaper members two different leads for certain news stories. According to the AP, the alternative lead will not be distributed to news feeds customers.

"The concept is simple: On major spot stories — especially when events happen early in the day — we will provide you with two versions to choose between," the AP said in an advisory to members. "One will be the traditional ‘straight lead’ that leads with the main facts of what took place. The other will be the ‘optional,’ an alternative approach that attempts to draw in the reader through imagery, narrative devices, perspective or other creative means."

The "traditional" and "optional" lead example provided by Editor & Publisher is fascinating and worth a look. Could this be an attempt by the AP to help its newspaper members compete more effectively with alternative news outlets such as Web sites, blogs, and TV news-magazines?