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Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by BB Bobcat, Apr 10, 2010.

  1. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    How do you guys feel about leaving a dateline off if the site where the story was reported really has nothing to do with the story?

    For example, you do a feature on Joe Mauer but talk to him in Kansas City, because that just happens to be where he is when you cross paths with him. Especially if the story isn't running till after the Twins have left KC, it would seem to just confuse readers if it had a KC dateline.
  2. hankschu

    hankschu Member

    I'd write a dateline of Athens, Greece, and charge your company for the "airfare."
  3. fishhack2009

    fishhack2009 Active Member

    I think if I'm doing a story on Joe Mauer and I'm in the Twin Cities and he's in KC, a KC dateline would imply I was in KC when I wrote the story. No dateline.
  4. EagleMorph

    EagleMorph Member

    Anything done over the phone or via email or twitter or fax or facebook or smoke signals doesn't get a dateline.

    If you actually traveled there and conducted the interview in person, then it gets a dateline.
  5. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    I'm talking about stories done in person, just while the subject is on the road. If you write it live while the guy is still in that town, it makes sense to have a dateline, but if you don't run it till a week later, I think it may look kinda weird.
  6. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    If you aren't running it until a week later, I don't know that it matters. Throw in the story somewhere that you spoke to him in Kansas City. I don't think it's an issue to spend a whole lot of time thinking about.
  7. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    For byline stories, we only put datelines if we physically go to that place. Phoners don't count. A former competitor used to draw our mirth by filing dateline stories the same day from Dallas, Phoenix and his Bug Tussle base. We would joke that he could teleport himself without need of earthly transportation.

    Along those lines and in regard to the topic, if you were in KC to talk to Mauer in person, a KC dateline should be fine as long as you clarify in the story that's where you spoke with him.
  8. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    If I correctly understand the original post, the writer was physically in Kansas City when he talked to Mauer. That would allow him to use K.C. as the dateline ... IF he chooses to use a dateline at all. He's under no obligation to use one. There's no law saying he must use a dateline.

    If using a K.C. dateline is irrelevant to the point of the story, and it simply happens to be the city where the interview took place, don't confuse the reader pointlessly. Skip the dateline. If it makes you feel better, you can insert into the body of the story that the interview took place in Kansas City -- "... said last week in Kansas City, during the Twins' series against the Royals ..." -- but it's certainly not a requirement.

    The conversation about dateline policies for phoners and e-mail interviews seems to be tangential to the original post.
  9. beanpole

    beanpole Member

    There are at least two schools of thought. The AP, for instance, will dateline a story based on where the reporter was when he or she was gathering the most signficant piece of information or interview. The NY Times, on the other hand, datelines a story based on where the writer is when he or she writes the story.

    Both places agree, however, that if the dateline makes it confusing to the reader, it's perfectly fine to leave a dateline off entirely.
  10. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Clarity is the key thing. In the example he gave, leave off the dateline.
  11. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Datelines tell the reader where an event took place. No one gives a darn whether I was there in person or got the information by phone, fax, email or website.

    If the story has nothing to do with a particular location, I will remove a dateline. Example: recently ran a very well done story from a Cox News Service writer about athletes making comebacks. The reporter happened to be based in Palm Beach, Fla., and works for the Cox paper there. But this story made no reference to Florida whatsoever and I have no idea what method(s) he used to do his interviews with multiple people he quoted. So, as a copy desk editor, I ran his byline, but not the dateline.
  12. Kato

    Kato Active Member

    Our phoned-in game briefs often get datelines, the idea being to show where the event took place. I know this is technically wrong. However, I wonder how many readers even know what a dateline is anymore. Do they assume it means we were there or do they think of it as where the news originated.

    If I'm not at an event or do a phone interview I leave the dateline off, but I don't think our editors hold writers' feet to the fire on this.
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