“Riding shotgun between Missouri and Texas”: The New York Times is experimenting with more colorful bylines and datelines

A dateline does not, paradoxically, include a date. Instead, it typically indicates where a story was written and reported. (See: Mission, Texas or Windham, N.H.) The New York Times is experimenting with expanding these brief bits of text to add more color and nuance to the top of their stories.

Edmund Lee, who covered media and technology at the newspaper before joining a new standards team in September 2021, described the new format as “more plainspoken about who we are and where we’re doing our reporting.”

He highlighted a story about truck driver shortages by Peter S. Goodman that notes the reporter “spent three days riding shotgun, from Kansas City, Mo. to Fort Worth and back.”

Over the last month or so @nytimes we’ve started to show off a new byline/dateline format that’s more plainspoken about who we are and where we’re doing our reporting. Here are some recent examples. Would love your feedback.

From @petersgoodman https://t.co/VnKOXX1Vw7 pic.twitter.com/wyBvIjIuhw

— Edmund Lee (@edmundlee) February 9, 2022

Another story by Andrew Keh notes he’s reporting from inside the Olympic bubble in Beijing and an article by Amanda Morris shares that the journalist’s own experiences as a disabled person inform her reporting.

Lee asked for feedback. Folks gave it!

This is an odd way to get around a silly rule against using the first person in magazine-style features. (If it was actually in @NYTmag, that would be fine.) Just let Peter explain what he was doing in the copy, instead of making it weirdly hyper-visible metadata. pic.twitter.com/nf84v53Z5T

— Felix Salmon (@felixsalmon) February 9, 2022

This is really interesting: telling a bit more about the reporters in the byline and why they’re covering this story. Curious to see if this will have an effect on public trust. https://t.co/HOHLOCdZKL

— Roberto Rocha (@robroc) February 10, 2022

I *love* this. It not only gives context but also celebrates the accomplishments and expertise the reporters have. https://t.co/wWdYAbnSDt

— (@rubyjnkie) February 9, 2022

More information and transparency is great, but I wonder if this information might be better at the bottom of the story. It’s certainly important to know about who’s writing the story, but might making that so prominent distract from who/what the story is about?

— Mike Sisak (@mikesisak) February 9, 2022

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