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Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Matt L., Feb 23, 2008.

  1. Matt L.

    Matt L. Member

    When I read articles, there's always the name of a city before the article for example:
    MINNESOTA- [insert column]

    Just wondering, sorry if it seems dumb to ask, but what is the city actually for? Is it showing where the author was when he wrote it or is it showing where the article topic is taking place?

  2. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    It's called a dateline and it's supposed to reflect that the reporter was in that city to report the story.
  3. True, but many, many papers use it for their outlying coverage areas - even if the reporter didn't necessarily file from there. I speak from experience.
  4. Matt L.

    Matt L. Member

    Oh, I see. Thanks.
  5. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Or you are Maureen Dowd filing a Clinton campaign column from the Middle East.
  6. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    On the flip side, no dateline means one of two things: either the story was written entirely in the office, or that the event taking place actually occurred in the newspaper's home city.
  7. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    Also, newspapers will put their home city on the dateline if they are based out of two towns that are really close to each other, or the readership is split pretty much between two towns. At least that's how my last paper did it.

    Here's my random dateline question: I went to a playoff preview tournament last week and interviewed 5 different sets of coaches/players and wrote feature stories the next week. Should I have put a dateline on the feature stories even though the schools wouldn't have matched up with the dateline?
    For example:

    I interview Bumblefuck High, which was playing at Dumas High (hi, slappy!). I write a feature on the star turd from Bumblefuck three days later. Do I put Dumas on the dateline?

    I didn't when I wrote them. I just went with no dateline and pretended I did phone interviews.
  8. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    For features, if the dateline of where you actually were becomes confusing (as in your example), you're better off going with no dateline.
  9. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    At ours, we have a stupid policy that every story needs a dateeline. So we'll have some wrestler at a big meet thousands of miles away and we'll call him on his cell for a comment after his first day of wrestling and we'll "place the story" in our paper's town. That, to me, makes no sense.

    We do the same thing when conference all-stars or players of the week are announced via press release. The conference headquarters is in a city two hours away, but we place everything from our city. Makes no sense.
  10. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    I've been in that position plenty of times. I just try to break it down to where I did most of my work - reporting or writing - and base the dateline off that.

    Although, sometimes, if the choice is between somewhere with appeal and somewhere lackluster - for example, Lowell or Boston - I'll choose the more impressive city. To me, that conveys a big-time feel.
  11. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    I used to work at a paper at which we would take roundup information on the phone and put a dateline on each roundup item of the town where the team played.

    In other words, we'd be at our office in Podunk and get a call from a team that lost at Fleabag. The dateline on the roundup item would be: FLEABAG --.

    Just ridiculous.
  12. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    My old paper did that. I had no idea that it was wrong until I moved to my new shop.
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