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Since the byline gives credit to the writer for his work, most writers usually prefer to seek work that promises them a byline. The alternative would be for the newspaper and/or agency to simply credit the content to the "staff" in general, or to publish the material anonymously. Writers may also sometimes have reason for seeking to avoid a byline, in the event that their work (for example) does not fit well with their desired public profile.

Definition of byline

A byline is a short bit of text that states the date, title, and name of the writer of an article. This article may be in a newspaper, a magazine, a blog, or a website article or content. Generally, the byline is located at the top of the article, between the headline or title and the text of the article itself. At times, the byline may be placed at the bottom of the page or text, in order to provide more room for graphical elements associated with the headline. A byline may include a brief summary of the article in question, and may introduce the writer by name.


Bylines inform readers of who wrote an article, and on the web, the name of the author may be a hyperlink to another page with distinct information about the writer, such as the writer’s qualifications, degrees, general area of knowledge, past work history, or other writing.

A simple example of a byline is: “Jackie Smitts, Staff Writer.”

A more in-depth example might be: “Jackie Smitts, an accomplished and concerned journalist, has been covering the war in Afghanistan for over three years, in cooperation with TRK News,” or “Jackie Smitts’ ebook Writing Truth: The War in Afghanistan from a Writer’s Point of View is based on the collection of articles found on this website.”

Although almost all newspapers, magazines, blogs, and news content websites use bylines to credit writers for their work, The Economist of Britain published weekly newsmagazines both in print and online anonymously. A byline could be associated to a similar practice, using proper citations in essays, articles, or other literary works. It is important to always direct the reader back to the original author when quoting an outside work. A byline serves almost as a citation- it allows the reader to grasp a more extensive knowledge about the writer to gain a more thorough background while reading.

Usage of the term

Bylines can also attribute information to wire services (also known as newswires or news services), which are news agencies that supply syndicated news by wire to newspapers, radio stations, television stations, social media, and websites. Some of the most common wire services include Reuters of the London, United Kingdom; the Associated Press (AP) of the United States; the Press Association (PA) in London; Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANP) of the Netherlands; Agence France-Presse (AFP) of Paris, France; and Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) of Hamburg, Germany. These wire services may be government public corporations, public corporations, not-for-profit cooperatives, or private corporations.

These news agencies gather news reports from around the world and then sells them for a profit to other news organizations which subscribe to their services. AFP, AP, and Reuters provide one objective new feed to all subscribers, whether the subscribers are liberal or conservative. This information cannot be biased but must be “demonstrably correct” in order to reduce responsibility and avoid making judgments.

Wire services emerged in the late 1800s because very few large newspapers were able to afford bureaus outside their home cities. Instead, reliance on news agencies became the norm, since the papers were unable to have reporters in every city they wished to report on. Pooling resources and sharing news with other agencies became the only way to get international news throughout the world.

The invention of the telegraph in the 1830s and 1840s by Samuel Morse and others created British, German, Austrian and United States news agencies which increased news communication all over the world.

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