‘Peeing in his compost’: Best newspaper lead ever?

Mark Schultz’s News & Observer colleague John Frank calls this “the BEST lede ever,” and others agree. “Totally restored my faith in the snarky wonder of journalism,” tweeted Khadijah Britton. “LMAO!” wrote Curt Golden. Gawker founding editor Elizabeth Spiers and BuzzFeeds’s Zeke Miller were among those who shared the “peeing in his compost” story with their followers.

Schultz tells Romenesko readers his piece appeared on the front page of Sunday’s Chapel Hill News. (“It goes to 38,000 households in Orange and Chatham counties in North Carolina, including about 8,000 as a local news section in their News & Observer. I posted it Sunday afternoon to the N&O website as well.”)

It didn’t take long for readers to react.

“I would like to personally thank you for enriching my life,” one wrote the reporter. “That was one of the most hilarious articles I have ever read in my life.” Another told him: “Gotta give you an upvote on that opening sentence. Never saw that in the N&O before!”

Any trouble getting the lead into the paper? I asked.

“I checked with my publisher beforehand. She seemed hesitant at first but let me go with it.”

The reporter adds: “I even emailed the guy [Roy Mars] back to make sure he was OK with using it. It’s the way he had started the story to me on the phone. He said ‘absolutely.’”

About urinating in the compost:

“I Googled it, and sure enough — apparently tons of people do it. It saves water (from not flushing) and improves the composting process. Who knew?”

* Man says he saw UFO fly over Carrboro (newsobserver.com)

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