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Best way to first reference high schools?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Cullen9, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. Cullen9

    Cullen9 Member

    What's the best way to make a first reference to a high school?

    "Smith attends Memorial High School."
    "Smith attends Memorial High."
    "Smith attends Memorial."

    Or, something else?

    Does it matter if the coverage area is larger or smaller? Does web presence matter?

    I'm just looking to see what the common answer is. I've seen sports sections do it all three ways.

  2. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    We just go with Reynolds and assume the readers can figure out we're talking about the local high schools.
  3. That 1 Guy

    That 1 Guy Member

    In the example provided, my paper would use Memorial High School on first reference.
    With that said, we also use it like this: Memorial beat Washington, 24-21, in a prep football game Friday at Memorial High School.
  4. Simon

    Simon Active Member

    Smith attends Memorial in my paper but a majority of our coverage area is either 1. the five city schools or 2. schools that are named after the town they are in.
  5. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    In sports, we drop "High School" in all references to teams. So Jefferson beat Roosevelt 44-7, but John Smith walks the halls of Lincoln High School.

    We only use "High" in the case of one school, which is named after the town it's in despite that town having other high schools. We refer to those other schools in the town as "Springfield Washington," so we refer to Springfield High School as "Springfield High," when discussing sports teams.

    Here's an interesting note on our style, and the style of at least a few other "papers-of-record" (at the state level) across the country: We refer to the sports teams of Madison High School in Springfield as "Springfield Madison" because Springfield has more than one high school. But Kennedy High School in Podunk is referred to as "Kennedy of Podunk," because Podunk only has one high school.

    I actually like that style, but most writers screw it up constantly. I'm also not sure any writer realizes why we do it that way, even if they've noticed it at all.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I would put high school in the first reference unless it is clear that the article is about high school sports (if it has a HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL label for example).
  7. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    I use ____ High School on first reference. It's only two words.
  8. Illino

    Illino Member

  9. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    This (to a point).
    The only thing that looks dumber in a gamer than Podunk High School used a 12-0 fourth-quarter advantage to beat Swinging Dick High School, is "The Podunk High School Chieftains used a fourth-quarter advantage to beat the Swinging Dick High School Ballsacs..."
    In a feature, sure.
    Disagree with the cities.
  10. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    As others have noted, context is everything. For example, with your Friday night football package, there's probably no need to include "High" or "High School" with the game stories. But if you're doing a story that would appear on 1A, yeah, you should be as complete as possible for the folks who aren't regular sports readers.

    The web does present another consideration, though, indeed. If you're posting stories online without labels (like "High School Football"), you might want to include "High School" in the interest of SEO ... or at least a label so that someone Googling springfield + high school + football has a better chance of finding it online.

    As far as coverage area goes, I've worked for papers big and small. At a small paper, you can safely assume everyone knows where the area high schools are. At a big paper, you probably should consider using a city with the school name (Springfield Memorial), at least for those in the outlying areas.
  11. Mystery Meat II

    Mystery Meat II Well-Known Member

    Most of my past stops would drop the high school in sports but leave it in news. Jenny Smythe scored 22 points to lead Tinytown past Littleville 55-43 in a Micro Conference girls basketball showdown but Tintytown High School officials believe the new anti-bullying ordinance will make a big difference in their hallways.

    With out of town schools, we often went with the state AP style (Lincoln-Minidelphia).
  12. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    The only problem with this is if that label doesn't show up with the web version of the story, people reading online won't necessarily know what's what.

    We use East Nowhere High School on first reference. It does get cumbersome, though. I think the thing to do is stay away from summary leads when you can. If you can tuck that full reference with "high school" into a second graf, it doesn't seem as much like clutter.
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