It’s sort of ridiculous to me that I think about things like where to put an update in a story or how to handle a date, but in the end it’s about being clear to our readers.
So how do we handle things like “today” or “this morning” or “tonight” in articles on the web? Because those stories live forever and search engines will find them easily. How do we make it clear to people? Steve Buttry has written on this (yes, that’s my tweet quoted), but it still bugs me every day.
I used to be a “today” person on the web. It’s how I was taught to go when I first started at WestportNow.com because our strength was we could post things today. I grew up in a newsroom with AP style saying there is only today and no tomorrow or yesterday.
But over time I have slowly gone to wanting to see the day of the week in a story to make it clearer to readers. Case in point: I mixed up when an event happened in an article because it said “this morning.” The story had been updated too, so the time stamp was Monday. But the event had happened Sunday morning. If the story had said “Sunday morning” instead of “this morning,” I wouldn’t have made the mistake.
There are a slew of problems that come with using the day instead of “today,” of course. Like if you said Monday rather than today, how will your readers know what Monday you mean? And what if I’m coming to the story a month from now and it says Sunday? I do think Steve gives good advice on what to do in his blog post.
How is the best way to solve these dilemmas? Leave a comment below (or you can always tweet me @jenconnic).