5 actual datelines that are almost as good as The Onion’s

In the decades since it was founded, The Onion has taken readers to places no reporter has yet been able to visit. The satirical news organization’s enterprising journalists have filed copy from the vast reaches of space, the fictional world of Sesame Street, the bowels of hell and the zenith of heaven.

But The Onion doesn’t have a monopoly on unusual datelines. Non-fictional reporters have reported stories from exotic and newsworthy locales around the globe. Here are a few we found particularly interesting:

His name was actually Frank Kluckhorn.

His name was actually Frank Kluckhorn.

Aboard President Roosevelt’s funeral train: This dispatch comes “special to the times” from Frank Kluckhorn, who was a foreign correspondent for the paper. According to journalist Robert Klara, many articles filed from the train carried this dateline, regardless of which state the train was in at the time.

Throughout the story, Kluckhorn describes the objects and people in the train with literary and cinematic detail: Roosevelt’s coffin (copper-lined and mahogany, covered with the stars and stripes); the spectators (crying openly and mute); and the time of day (“the black silence of this Southern night”).

Definitely one for the clip file.

On board the Charles de Gaulle: Julien Ponthus reports this story from a French aircraft carrier named for the legendary president of France. Thanks to Ponthus’s perch on the carrier, we learn that it’s stocked with 800 troops and nine fighter jets.

Aboard the Papal Plane: This dateline comes from Associated Press reporter Nicole Winfield, who tells us Pope Francis threw “a pretend punch” at a Vatican functionary. He was trying to demonstrate that mocking subjects of reverence, such as the Prophet Muhammad, can draw a rebuke from the faithful.

"No Santa's workshop," the writer laments.

“No Santa’s workshop,” the writer laments.

Over the North Pole: Associated Press correspondent Charles Campbell gets a much deserved byline for a story filed from the first commercial airliner to visit the top of the world. Campbell’s story, like Kluckhorn’s, has excellent detail combined with a voice suited to the topic at hand. He describes the passengers as “provisioned with champagne and filet mignon” and provides this lighthearted account of the journey’s climactic moment:

For a few minutes, the clouds parted to show the Arctic Ocean ice cap at mid-summer, the white sheet laced by cracks of open water.

But by the time the arrival at the pole was announced — to a chorus of cheers and applause — there was nothing to see but cottony clouds. No red-and-white striped barber pole. No Santa’s workshop.

Aboard the Sosi Inspector: New York Times correspondent Seth S. King reports this detail-rich story from a vessel hunting for sunken treasure off the coast of Massachusetts. The ship, he says, is “crammed with underwater surveillance equipment” and ” carries a huge pressurized chamber” that divers live in for three weeks at a time:

If their several years of research and their assumptions based on it are valid, they should find up to 75 wooden boxes in that hold, each of which, they are convinced, held $40,000 in gold coins, which today would be worth many times that amount.

Absent is any description of the treasure — the expedition was a bust — but if the explorers had struck the jackpot, King would have had the opportunity to witness their jubilation firsthand.

Know of any great datelines I should add? Send them to bmullin@poynter.org and I’ll add them to the list!

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from Poynter. http://ift.tt/1C7wNGE


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