That's a good question. A staff report generally means the "story" was put together with information several of the newspaper's staffers gleaned from a variety of sources -- press releases, websites, emails, people, old Courier stories, etc.
We use a "Special to the Courier" byline when a pre-written story is sent to us by an outside writer -- not one of the paper's staffers or regular correspondents. Usually, such stories come from PR people/firms who represent the entity the story is about.
The reason The Coastal Bank story had a SAVANNAH dateline is because the bank's headquarters are in Savannah, and that's where the information for that story originated.
Another example of a datelined story would be articles about Congress that stem from happenings in Washington. The topic of an article with a Washington, D.C., dateline might be the affects a piece of legislation will have on Liberty County. But since that legislation was created, discussed and voted on in Washington, the article has a Washington dateline. It may still be considered a "local" story because the main point of the article is to let people in this area know how that legislation will affect their hometown. Hence, a "local" story with a Washington dateline.
In the case of The Coastal Bank story, it did have a Savannah dateline because that's where the bank's headquarters are and that's where the regulators' agreement originated. But the bank does operate "local" branches -- right here in Liberty County -- so we were trying to let our local readers know how they might (or might not) be affected by the bank's agreement with regulators.
I hope this answers your question. Thanks for reading the Courier.
Courier managing editor