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Saturday, September 29, 2007

For other uses, see dateline (disambiguation).
A dateline is a short piece of text included in news articles that describes where and when the story was filed, though the date is often omitted. In the case of articles reprinted from wire services, the distributing organization is also included (though the originating one is not). Datelines are traditionally placed on the first line of the text of the article, before the first sentence.
The location appears first, usually starting with the city the reporter is in (or the name of the nearest large city). City names are usually printed in uppercase, though this can vary from one publication to another. The political division and/or nation the city is in may follow, but they may be dropped if the city name is widely recognizable due to its size or political importance (a national capital, for instance). The date of the report comes after, followed by an em dash surrounded by spaces, and then the article.
A typical newspaper dateline might read
BEIRUT, Lebanon, June 2 — The outlook was uncertain today as ...
The same story if pulled from the Associated Press (AP) wire might appear as
BEIRUT (AP) — The outlook was uncertain today as ...
Datelines can take on some unusual forms. When reporters collaborate on a story, two different locations might be listed. In other cases, the exact location may be unknown or intentionally imprecise, such as when covering military operations while on a ship at sea or following an invasion force.

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