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Today's nitpicking question: datelines

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Cadet, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Some datelines are easy. When you dateline a Broncos game, it's in Denver. Even if you dateline a Cardinals game Glendale, readers still get it. They know it's the Arizona Cardinals.

    Other datelines are confusing, especially for preps. Do you dateline with the common reference? Or the geographic location? Or the school's mailing address?

    In my greater coverage area is rural Podunk High School. The common assumption is that Podunk High is located in Podunk. This is what people say when they speak of PHS.

    However, PHS technically is located on land that is part of the Village of Bumblefuck. Bumblefuck is not a household name, even to those in the area. Confusion will ensue if I dateline my stories from Bumblefuck.

    To confuse the issue, PHS has a Bigcity County mailing address (not a P.O. Box, either, but the legal street and emergency response address). But even more confusion will ensue if I dateline my stories from Bigcity or even Bigcity County.

    So do I use the common reference, the technical definition or the mailing address? Or just stick with what is least confusing for readers?

    Thanks in advance for the help.
  2. HoopsMcCann

    HoopsMcCann Active Member

    hmmmm... i've always gone with mailing address
  3. Rockbottom

    Rockbottom Active Member

    Doing so will have you datelining Fighting Irish home tilts with this: NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- ... which, I guess, is more descriptive than SOUTH BEND, Ind., but not nearly as *accurate* if you ask me.

  4. Ledbetter

    Ledbetter Active Member

    I'd go with where you actually are, though that might be the heart of the problem.

    If the Village of Bumblefuck is in your coverage area, people should be used to seeing it.

    Ole Miss is technically in University, Miss., according to the mailing address, but every dateline reads Oxford.
  5. HoopsMcCann

    HoopsMcCann Active Member

    good call, guys...

    hmmm. so cadet, you should know this already, don't listen to my ass
  6. blondebomber

    blondebomber Member

    And you've been making this major, running mistake for how long?
  7. Rockbottom

    Rockbottom Active Member


  8. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    See, this is what I'm talking about. You go with the common reference, right? Same with South Bend...

    For the record, the Village of Bumblefuck may have a population of 13 people. It's not a common reference and, really, I'm not sure why Podunk just doesn't incorporate it. The kids from Bumblefuck, if there actually are any, go to Podunk High School.
  9. HoopsMcCann

    HoopsMcCann Active Member

    haven't had many datelines where it's been a problem
  10. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Cadet, that probably should be a paper-wide style. Check with your news desk and see how they handle datelines from that school.
  11. The dateline is the first fact of your story. It should be correct.

    It's not always the mailing address. I usually look to see if there are any local police officers staffing the game. You can usually get an accurate read of your juristiction based on where the police come from.

    Example, from a dateline that a lot of people got wrong: When the Columbine massacre happened, the Jefferson County sheriff's office responded, because the school is not located in Littleton, but actually in an unincorporated section of Jefferson County.
  12. HoopsMcCann

    HoopsMcCann Active Member

    and, honestly, is being accurate really a "major" mistake?
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