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Using names of corporate sponsors in stories

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mr. X, May 2, 2009.

  1. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    Writing an advance (from home) on a Sunday event with a corporate sponsor. I'm not sure whether to use the sponsor's name in the story.

    We don't have a titling rule. (Final call will probably be made by slot editor.)

    What is The Associated Press' rule? (I don't have a current stylebook at home and it seems the rule has changed over the years.)

    What is the industry standard? I remember it used to be, "If you can name the event without the corporate sponsor, just use that, such as the Greater Hartford Open."

    However, I have heard arguments made, sometimes by event publicists, that the correct approach is to use the official name with the corporate sponsor.

    About a decade ago, I can remember a publicist berating a reporter for The Washington Times for not using a PGA tournament's official name. No offense to the people who work there, but I was wondering why The Washington Times was being berated? Its circulation is small and I don't think the paper is well respected because of its ownership. I doubt the sponsor would get much benefit from being mentioned in The Washington Times.
     
  2. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    Off the top of my head, the rule we've had is if it's in the actual name of the event, for example the Aaron's 400, the Buick Invitational or what have you, then that's it's name.

    If it's the Rose Bowl presented by Citi, or the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands, then you don't include it.

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. OTD

    OTD Active Member

    If you can avoid it, don't use the corporate name. That is, if it's the Pizza Hut Mr.Xville Open, just call it the Mr.Xville Open. If it's the Pizza Hut Open, there's not much you can do.
     
  4. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Yes: Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
    No: Peach Bowl Presented by Chick-Fil-A.

    Yes: Quad Cities Open
    No: Miller High Life Quad Cities Open

    Make sense?
     
  5. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Rule to remember is: The advertisers aren't paying your newspaper to use the name, so you're not obligated to bow down to them. They're paying for presenting rights/naming rights, but that contract is only binding for the event organizers, not the media.

    Call it what it's called, not what they want you to call it. Hell, every community fundraiser startup I've ever covered wants you to call it the "First Annual Such-and-Such." Yeah, stick around for a year and we'll talk.
     
  6. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    Just curious, Buck, but one of the tournaments that sprang to mind on this was the PGA Tour's Shell Houston Open.

    What would you do in that scenario, just Houston Open?
     
  7. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    In that case, I would say common sense dictates that using the sponsor's name is not intrusive. So I would go with Shell Houston Open there.

    It's when it gets intrusive -- for instance, "presented by XXX" -- that I have a bigger problem with it. Like OTD said, if you can avoid it, you should. But you can be flexible sometimes.
     
  8. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    What if your paper presents an event? Now would you have to write it out?
     
  9. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    Yes, complete with phone numbers of ad director and publisher.
     
  10. ColbertNation

    ColbertNation Member

    I get what you're all saying, and I tend to agree with you.
    But does that change if it's a local business that's sponsoring the event? And does that answer change if the sponsor is included in the event's logo?
     
  11. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    If you're writing a straight up news story, call it what it's called.

    Instead of the Poulan Weedeater Independence Bowl, it's the Independence Bowl. If it's the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, it's the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. If it's the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, I'd still call it the Peach Bowl.

    Old example: Save the "I refuse to call it anything other than the Capital Centre" for an opinion column if you're being really snarky and your editor is letting you get away with it. Otherwise, call it USAirways Arena.
     
  12. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    It changes when the publisher and/or your editor tell you it does. Otherwise, it's common sense.
     
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