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The musings of a Detroit-area sportswriter in the digital age.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Will census data bump 'The D'

With news of Detroit's considerably smaller population, it's a wonder if the city will keep its city-only dateline in future stories.
Datelines, which indicate the city where the story was gathered, precede story copy and are typically designated by the Associated Press Stylebook, which is revised each year. Most well-known U.S. cities, including Detroit, have standalone datelines: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Dallas and Miami to name a few.
Typically, those cities that stand alone have large populations, but there are some which don't.
With Detroit's initial census numbers coming in at 713,000 Tuesday, here are some standalone cities of similar size:
  • Baltimore (637,000)
  • Boston (645,000)
  • Denver (610,000)
  • Milwaukee (605,000)
  • San Francisco (815,000)
  • Seattle (616,000)
The stylebook is constantly being revived, in fact, last week the it was announced the news provider will drop the hyphen from email and adapt "cell phone" to one word as well as "smartphone." Last year, the guide finally changed the Web site to "website." Some have asked for more reform and based on the recent changes, it seems like the stylebook typically adheres to public sentiment.
Because there are already several cities in the 300k range which stand alone (Minneapolis, New Orleans, Pittsburgh), a change in "The D's" dateline status is still unlikely. Wouldn't "Detroit, Mich." at the beginning of stories just look weird? It would just be another sign of the once great city's fall from grace.
*The cities with standalone datelines used in this post came from a 2005 edition of the stylebook. Population figures based on 2009 samples.


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