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"High School" on first reference

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Scouter, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. Scouter

    Scouter Member

    How many of you work at papers that include "High School" or "College" on first reference when identifying a school (ex: Podunk High School, Buttface College)?

    We do at my place and it annoys the hell out of me. I don't think it's necessary and I feel like it clutters the lede or nut graph. Thoughts?
  2. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    Depends on the reference.

    Many schools are a name (Washington, Douglas) that can make it sound like somebody named Washington or Douglas did something if you don't tell the readers it's a high school.

    I usually use "High" but not "School" for first reference and usually omit both when the second team is referenced.

    "Washington High's 43-game winning streak came to a sudden end Friday night against a Podunk team that could do no wrong . . . "
  3. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Always on first reference.
    Sorry. Douglas Freeman High School can then become Freeman. But you're not from around here? What's a Douglas Freeman? What's a J.R. Tucker? It's two words. Doesn't clutter up a thing.
    College full names on first reference. Virginia Commonwealth University can then become VCU. James Madison University can then become JMU.
    Make it clear to your reader: What sport, what level?
  4. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    My old paper used to abbreviate, as in four letters, every school name after first reference.

    Frankfort High School would be FHS, Franklin County was FCHS and Western Hills was WHHS. Drove me up a freaking wall every time I saw it.
  5. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Agree with Moddy. Definitely include the level. Make sure to include the sport, too.

    Hate to see something like "Podunk beat City 3-2 on Wednesday". That could be soccer, could be baseball, could be tennis, could be volleyball, etc. Could be football, too. And a lot of schools are named after towns -- so make sure to say high school, college, etc.

    Doesn't matter if the sport or level is made clear by a graphical element on the page (with a photo, scoreline, kicker) -- your story should stand by itself, because that's what you have control over as a writer. Maybe that photo doesn't make it on the web site; then how are people supposed to figure it out?

    Make it clear. Shouldn't be that hard.
  6. 100%, you need High School. Always.
  7. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    Yeah, always High School. Think of all the places where the town and the local school have the same name.
  8. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Don't we need to give the readers some credit for having a brain? I would hope they can figure out from a headline, picture, graphical element or context of the lede that they're reading a story on a high school sporting event.
    I can see it if you're differentiating between something like a city and a county school (Podunk High beat Podunk Central 14-13...) or if it's a common name or the name of the city (Smith High beat Franklin High 14-13...) but I don't see how it's necessary each and every time.
  9. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    You forgot this one.


    James Wood was beaten by the girls from Stafford...
  10. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    I have never heard of this rule in my entire life.
  11. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    But what if you have Podunk College and Podunk High School in the same town, which is frequently the case? Do you ignore it when it's Suburb High vs. Exurb High, both of which are in Podunk, too; in which case, your usage is inconsistent depending on the teams playing? And what if those graphical elements aren't online -- how are readers supposed to know that a picture ran with the story in print that made it clear?

    A story should stand by itself. And a writer, especially when school names and mascots are so interchangeable at the prep and sometimes college level, should make sure to be clear, instead of relying on outside elements to explain basic details of the story.
  12. Scouter

    Scouter Member

    That's always been my thinking, and I'm a bit surprised you and I seem to be in the minority on this. At my paper we have guides on the page that tell readers the subject of the story (High school baseball, College basketball, etc.). Same goes for our website. Putting it in the story seems redundant to me.
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