Russia has moved to annex Crimea. So the Associated Press is moving to amend its stylebook.
Where it once used this dateline: “SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (AP),” it will now use this one: “SEVASTOPOL, Crimea (AP).”
The rationale? Simply that Ukraine “no longer controls Crimea, and AP datelines should reflect the facts on the ground,” according to the AP blog post on the matter. Anticipating the very next question — why not “SEVASTOPOL, Russia (AP)”? — the post digs into a protracted explanation:
The reason is that Crimea is geographically distinct from Russia; they have no land border. Saying just the city name and “Crimea” in the dateline, even in the event of full annexation, would be consistent with how we handle geographically separate parts of other countries. For instance, we just say “Sicily” and “Sardinia” in datelines — “PALERMO, Sicily (AP)” — even though they are part of Italy, and “Guadeloupe” in datelines even though that island is part of France.
Brilliant dateline-oriented thinking.