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Days and confused

October 14, 2013 - Rob Weaver
The message left on the office voicemail indicated a caller was confused as to the date of the open house planned at T. J. Willie's restaurant.

The first sentence from the story in Saturday's edition states, “After sustaining damage from a kitchen fire in May, T.J. Willie's plans to host an open house Thursday as the restaurant finishes preparations to reopen.”

So, yes, an open house is planned for this Thursday, two days hence, following a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5:45 p.m.

The confusion stemmed from the open house preceding the likely opening date for the restaurant, which has been remodeling after a fire in the kitchen last May resulted in smoke and water damage. Pending final blessings from inspectors, the restaurant could open next Monday.

This misunderstanding offers an opportunity to explain how newspapers, and other news media, employ dates and days of the week. Simply put, if an event is at least seven days away from the date of publication, the calendar date is used. If an event is less than seven days away, the day of the week is used as reference.

The rule applies to events in the past as well as future.

For example, a story in today's edition about a barn fire a day earlier began with the paragraph, “A firefighter was injured and a barn was destroyed in a Loudon Township fire Sunday afternoon.” And because the open house at T.J. Willie's was less than a week away, the story in Saturday's edition used the word “Thursday” as the time reference.

Again, for an event that happened a week or more earlier, or is to occur a week or more in the future, we'll use the date. For example, an article this week concerning the general election would refer to the “Nov. 5” election. After Oct. 29, however, news stories would reference the “Tuesday” election.

Oh, and while we may use the word “today” in news copy, we avoid using the words “yesterday” and “tomorrow.” And remember: Today is tomorrow's yesterday.


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