More News Story Complaints

I was reading this story today about droughts in Texas. It caught my eye because the first line said “LUBBOCK, Texas” where I used to live.

The fun part about this story is that there’s nothing even close to Lubbock in it! Most of the story focuses on the Hill Country and areas west of San Antonio. That’s about 300 miles away from Lubbock. It would be similar to me decrying the fate of the weather in Louisville, Kentucky as it relates to Atlanta. In other words, not at all alike.

The closest they get to Lubbock is at the very end when they talk about a reservoir near San Angelo which is closer (160 miles) but still not close.

Is it too much to ask that the byline be geographically consonant with the story? This tells me that when I’m reading about areas I’m not familiar with, I’m being misled as to the context of the story. It does not give me a warm fuzzy feeling.

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3 Responses to More News Story Complaints

  1. Ben says:

    Paraphrasing my AP Styleguide, the dateline should be where the reporter collected the information. Ideally we’d want that to be where the story actually happened, but it doesn’t have to be. If Ms Blaney was in Lubbock when she investigated the Hill County story, then it was right for her to list Lubbock in her dateline.

    Think of it this way: We can presume from the dateline that Ms Blaney investigated this story from her location in Lubbock. If she had listed San Angelo in the dateline then there would be no clear indication that she was gathering the information from a distance instead of being there in Hill County herself. In that sense, reporting a Hill County dateline would be dishonest.

  2. Kim says:

    I’ve had the same disgruntlement when reading news stories about Iraq. The story will have all sorts of details about some small town hundreds of miles from Baghdad, but datelined Baghdad. How the hell can anyone accurately report from some Iraqi village near Syria from Baghdad??

    Trust me, I know it’s not the safest place in the world. Darrell’s been there twice now. But if Iraq is your beat, ya gotta get around a bit!

  3. Bill Ruhsam says:

    Ahh. This was just a bitch because I felt like bitching about something. Although if she was sitting in Lubbock, why didn’t she talk about the other dire water issues that are local to Lubbock, which I happen to know where not at all mentioned?

    Nevermind. I’m still just bitching.

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