What is a byline?

A byline is the credit for an article or other piece of media, whether print or digital. This credit is usually a writer’s name, placed clearly and prominently so that readers can be aware of whose writing they’re reading, and the word “by”. Because the article is only by the writer, the names of a photographer, illustrator or others involved in the creation of media are not bylines – they’re known simply as “credits”. These serve the purpose of providing credit where it’s due for the creation of the article or piece of content, and for providing the legitimacy that comes with naming the source of the information that follows.

Is the byline always the name of a person?

The byline won’t always be the name of a person. As many publications use news wire services to provide up-to-the-minute content, the names of that news provider may be used as the byline to show where the piece originated. If a publication prefers, they might attribute an article to “staff writer”. This is usually used only in cases in which the piece is considered too short or rudimentary to warrant crediting its writing to an individual, or when the publication as a whole would like to take responsibility for the information and sentiment contained in it.

What does a byline appear?

Today, a byline usually comes along with a social media handle or email address so that readers can contact the writer, either to share their feedback or to provide additional information on the story that may be of use for further reporting. If the article appears online, this contact information will generally be hyperlinked for ease of use.

A tagline is related to a byline, but don’t confuse the two: a byline is simply the writer’s name, while a tagline is a longer explanation of who the writer is, and usually appears at the end of an article. Taglines are rarer than bylines, but are a useful way to tell readers more about the writer and their specific skills and expertise.

Find more related keywords in our glossary