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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Media Matters: Print Journalism Glossary

Advance: statement or speech issued in advance to the media.
Advertorial: where distinction between editorial and advertising become blurred.

Agency: main news agencies.

Agony aunt: woman offering advice to people who write to newspapers with personal or emotional problems. Agony uncle is the male equivalent, but not many of these around.

Alternative press: loose term incorporating wide variety of non-mainstream newspapers. Can include leftist, religious, municipal, trade-union publications.
Ampersand: character (&) representing the word ‘and’

Anchor piece: story placed across the bottom of a page.

Angle: main point stressed in story usually in intro. Also known as hook. US: peg

Anti-aliasing: process to smooth the edges of digital pictures to minimize pixilation.

Ascender: upright in the letters b,d,f,h,k,l

Attribution: linking information or quote to original source.

Backbench: group of top-level journalists who meet to decide the overall shape and emphases in newspaper.

Background: section of news or feature story carrying information which serves to contextualize main elements. Also in computer jargon, indicates hyphenation and justification system is operating while copy is being input

Backgrounder: feature exploring the background to main story in the news.

Bleed: picture printed beyo0nd the area to be trimmed on page.

Blogspeak: esoteric jargon of blogs.

Blurb: words describing a story within the paper or magazine.

Body: copy following intro

Bold: more heavily defined version of a roman font.

Broadsheet: large format newspaper in which four pages fit across the width of the press; usually considered to be of a more serious quality than a tabloid.

Browser: software program for navigating the Internet, in particular the world wide web
Byline: gives name of journalist who has written article. Otherwise known as credit line.
Subs sometimes call it blame line. When appears at end of story known as sign-off.

Calls, check calls: routine telephone calls (or sometimes face to face visits) by reporters to bodies such as police, ambulance, hospitals, fire brigade(usually supplying information on tapes) to check if any news is breaking.

Campaigning journalism: overtly partisan journalism promoting particular cause. US: advocacy journalism.

Caps: upper-case letters

Caption: words accompanying picture or graphic.

Casting off: estimating the length of copy.

Causal: journalist employed by newspaper/magazine on a temporary basis. Since it is cheaper fro employers, numbers are growing.

Catchline: usually single word identifying story which is typed in right-hand corner of every page. Now more likely to be called the filename. Sub-editor will tend to use this word to identify story on layout. US: slug

CMYK: colours of ink used for four-colour printing: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

Colour: section of newspaper copy focusing on descriptions or impressions. Thus a colour feature is one which puts emphasis on description and the subjective response of the journalist though the news element may still be strong.

Column: vertical section of article appearing on page. Also known as leg
Compact: tabloid version of former broadsheet newspaper e.g. The Times
Condensed: a version of a font that has been squeezed horizontally.
Conference meeting of editorial staff to discuss previous issues and plan future ones.
Contact: journalist’s source
Contacts book: pocket-sized booklet carried by reporter listing contact details of sources.
Copy: editorial material. Hard copy refers to editorial material typed on paper
Copy approval: person allowed to see and approve copy before publication.
Credit: byline of photographer or illustrator
Crop: to select an area of a picture for publication.
Cross head: a heading placed within the body of a story
Cut-outs: when elements of a picture are cut away from the background (a simple device using an image editing program such as Photoshop).
Cuttings: stories cut from newspapers or magazines; cuttings job is an article based on cuttings; also known as clips or clippings
Database: storage of electronically accessible data.
Dateline: place from which story was filed usually applied to stories from abroad.
Day in the life of profile: feature focusing on particular day of subject. Not to be confused with life in the day of profile, which covers subject’s life but in context of talking about currently typical day.
Deadline: time by which copy is expected to be submitted.
Death knock: when a journalist breaks news of a death to a member of the public.
Deck: often used to mean the number of lines in a heading is, strictly, the number of heading.
Delete: to cut or remove
Demographics specific characteristics
Descenders: the portion of a letter that descends below the x-height in the following: g, p, q, j, y.
Desks: departments of newspapers: thus news desk, features desk.
Diary: day by day listing of events to cover
Diary column: gossip column, also a day-to-day personal account
Diary piece: article derived from routine sources (press conferences, press releases, council meetings, parliament) listed in diary (originally in written form but increasingly on screens) which helps news desk organize news-gathering activities. Off-diary stories come from reporters’ initiative and from non-routine sources
Dig: to do deep research
Direct entry: entry to journalism through publication which runs its own training programme.
Display ads: large advertisements usually containing illustrations and appearing on editorial pages. Advertising department will organize distribution of ads throughout the newspaper which is usually indicated on a dummy handed to subs before layout begins.
Doorstepping: journalists pursuing sources by standing outside their front doors. Now journalists often wait in cars
Dots per inch: a way of measuring printing and scanning resolution.
Double page spread: facing pages used for the same story.
Downpage: story appearing in bottom half of newspaper page.
Downtable: subs other than the chief and deputy chief subs (who often used to sit at the top table of the subs room)
Drop letter: (also drop cap) printed version of the illuminated letters that started hand-scribed bibles and other manuscripts. The letter is large enough to run alongside two or three lines of text.
Drudge report: US gossip web site run by Matt Drudge which controversially first exposed the President Clinton / Monica Lewinsky scandal in January 1998.
Dumbing-down: claim that media standards, in general, are falling with increasing emphasis on sensationalism, celebrities, human interest stories, sexual titillation, scandal and sleaze.
Dummy: newspaper mock-up to track the placing of adverts.
Edition: specific version of a publication. Editions can be published for a specific day or a specific time of day or place.
Editoinalising: publishing more than one edition on any day to take in breaking news.
Ellipse: three dots (…) usually indicating a pause or that some copy is missing
Em: the square of the body height of the typesize
Embargo: time (often found on press release) before which information should not be published
Em-dash: a dash the size of an em
Em-squad: the square of the body type. Usually assumed to be a pica-em or a 12pt.
En: half an em
Entry point: the place the page designer intends to draw the reader to on starting the page
EPS: encapsulated postscript: a digital graphics format
Exclusive: story supposedly unique carried by newspaper. System becomes devalued when attached to stories too frequently or when the same story is carried in other newspapers (as often happens)
Expanded: a version of a font that has been expanded horizontally.
Eyewitness reporting: presence of reporter at news even can provide unique opportunities for descriptive writing.
Face: typeface
Fact box: listing of facts (often boxed) relating to story. Useful way of creating visual and copy variety on page
Feature: as distinct form news story, tends to be longer, carry more background information, colour, wider range of sources and journalist’s opinion can be prominent.
Filler: short story, usually of one or two pars, filling in space when a longer story runs short (also known as brief)
Fireman: person sent from newspaper’s headquarters to cover major story (either at home or abroad).
Flat plan: plan of publication showing all pages
Font: family of type characters.
Footer: bottom margin area of the page often used to insert the publication, title, date or page number

Full out: when text occupies the full measure of the column
Full point: full stop
Generalist: non-specialist reporter. News teams tend to be mixes of generalists and specialists.
Gonzo journalism: a highly subjective genre of journalism, some times drug induced, pioneered by the American, Thompson in the 1960s and 1970s
Gutter: space between pages.
Half-tone: any rasterised picture where shades of grey are represented by different sized dots.
Handout: story sent to media outlets by press relations office of organization or PR company.
Hanging indent: the first line of a paragraph is full out while the rest is indented, usually by one em.

Hard copy: copy typed on sheets of paper. Each page is known as folio.
Hard news: news focusing on who, what, where, when, why based on factual detail and quotes and containing little description, journalist comment or analysis

Heavies: broadsheet serious papers such as Guardian
House: media organization
Human interest story: story focusing on success, failures, tragedies, emotional or sexual histories of people, eliminating or marginalizing more abstract and deeper cultural, economic, political, class-based factors.

Imprint: the printer’s and publisher’s details. Required by law.

Indent: small space at start of line.
Intro: opening of news or feature story usually containing main angle. Not necessarily just single par. Also known as lead. US: nose

Inverted pyramid: traditional representation of news stories (with main point at start and information declining in news value thereafter and ending with short background). Tends to oversimplify structure of news story. Better to imagine series of inverted pyramids within an overall large pyramid.

Investigative reporting: in one respect all journalism involves investigation. But investigative journalism tends to reveal something of social or political significance which someone powerful or famous wants hidden. US: muckraking.
Issue: all copies of the day’s paper and its editions.
Justification: a way of setting type to ensure that all lines on both sides of the block of text are level.
Lead: pronounced ‘led’. The space between lines which is additional to the size of the body type. So called because it was originally strips of metal (lead) which spaced out lines of type.

Lead: pronounced ‘leed’. The main story on the page. Could also mean the story’s intro.

Leader: the editorial comment.

Leaders: line of dots, dashes or other devices to lead the eye across the page especially in a table.

Leading: pronounced ‘ledding’: as ‘lead’ above but also used to mean the actual space (as opposed to the body type) in which the type lives.

Letterpress: printing method that presses raised inked type against paper.
Lexia: small fragments of text.
Life: to use whole or section of story from one edition to the next; also to pinch story from other media outlet changing and adding only a little. When barest minimum is changed known as straight lift.
Linage: payment to freelances based on number of lines of copy used.
Listings: lists usually of entertainment events giving basic information: times, venue, phone numbers and so on.

Lithography: printing method that relies on the inability of oily ink and water to mix.
Lobby: specialist group of correspondents reporting on the House of commons.
Masthead: papers title piece.
Measure: width of a block of text measured in 12 pt ems.
Mutton: slang name for an em
Narrowcasting: targeting publication to specific groups of people such as property owners or clubbers.
Negs: photographic negatives
Nibs: short news stories
Nut: slang name for an en
Off the record: when statements are made not for publication but for background only. Information derived from comments should in no way be traceable back to source.

Off-beat: unusual story often with a humorous twist.

On spec: uncommissioned article submitted voluntarily to media

On the record: when there are no restrictions on reporting what is said.

Op ed: abbreviation of opposite editorial, being the page opposite one on which editorial/leader comment falls. Usually contains important features and commentary by prestigious columnists.

Opinion piece: article in which journalist express overt opinion.

Orphan: short lien left at foot of column.
Outro: final section of a feature.
Pagination: arrangement and number of pages in publication
Par, Para: abbreviation of paragraph
Patch: geographic area of special interest.
Pay-off last par with twist or flourish.
Pica: old name for 12 pt
Pick up: journalist attending function might pick up or take away a photograph supplied by the organizers, known as a pick-up job; also journalists following up an event after it has happened is picking up news.
Pierce: cutting a shape into a picture to insert type or another picture.
Pitching: proposing story idea to newspaper/magazine
Pix: journalese for pictures / photographs (singular: pic)
Point: unit of typographical measurement.

Pool: privileged, small group of journalists with special access to event or source. Their reports and findings are distributed to those news organizations outside the pool.

Popbitch: web site focusing on satirical celebrity gossip.

Pops/populars: mass-selling national tabloids; now known as red-tops because their mastheads are in red.

Press release: announcement made by organization specially for use by media (not necessarily just press)

Profile: picture in words which usually focuses on an individual but organization, cars, horses, a building, and so on can be profiled.

Puff: advert for editorial changes/corrections on draft copy of text/graphic

Pull quote: short extract from news or feature set in larger type as part of page design.

Punchline: main point of story. Thus ‘punchy’ means story has a strong news angle.

Raster dot: dot of ink in a screened picture that allows shades of grey to be represented with black ink.

Renose: to change the angle of a story

Replate: unplanned change of plate on the press to produce a new page to include urgent news or correct a major mistake.

Ring-around: story based on series of telephone calls

Round-up: gathering together of various strands of story either under the same heading (otherwise known as umbrella story) or under variety of headings.

RSI: repetitive strain injury which journalists can suffer through their use of a keyboard and mouse

Rule: a straight line

Run: period of printing edition.

Scoop: exclusive

Sexy story: story with popular appeal. But many sexy stories give sex a bad name.

Sidebars: short stories printed alongside longer article providing additional, contrasting or late-breaking items.

Sign-off: byline at foot of story

Silly season: supposedly a time (usually in the summer holiday period) when little hard news is around and the press is reduced to covering trivia. For some newspapers silly season can last a long time. Wars and invasions often happen in silly seasons, too.

Sketch: light, often witty article describing event. Most commonly used with reference to reporting House of Commons

Slip: special edition for particular area or event.

Snap: brief information given by news agency before main story is sent.

Snapper: photographer

Soft news: light news story that can be more colourful, witty and commenty than hard news.

Soundbite: short, pithy quote used by journalists. First coined by US radio and television journalists in the late 1960s.

Spike: to reject copy or other information (e.g. press release). Derived from old metal spike which stood on wooden base on which subs would stick unwanted material. Had advantage over binning since material was accessible so long as it remained on spike.

Spin doctors: people who attempt to influence news or political agenda (the ‘spin’ in the jargon) such as press officers, communications specialists and other propagandists.

Splash: lead news story on front page

Spot colour: additional colour added to a black and white publication.

Standfirst: text intended to be read between headline and story which can elaborate on point made in headline, add new one or raise questions which will be answered in story (a teaser). Sometimes contains byline. Helps provide reader with a guiding hand into reading large slice of copy- thus mainly used for features and occasionally long news stories. Also known as the ‘sell’

Strapline: heading placed over another heading or headings.

Streamer: heading covering the full width of the page.

Stringer: freelance, in provinces, in London or overseas, who has come to arrangement with news organization to supply copy on agreed basis. Superstringer will contract to devote most of working for one organization but still be free to freelance for other media outlets for rest of time.

Style: special rules adopted by newspaper relating to spellings, punctuation and abbreviation. Often contained within style book though increasingly carried on screen. Many newspapers somehow survive without them.

Tabloid: newspaper whose pages are roughly half the size of broadsheet. All pops or popular papers are tabloids as are sections of some of the heavies. Serious tabloids exist in France and in the USA (Los Angeles times)

Taxonomy: breakdown of an issue into groups, categories or listing.

Teaser: a headline which only hints at the main angle of the story

Template: page on the computer screen providing a basic design pattern.

Think piece: analytical article.

Tip-off: information supplied to media by member of the public.

Titlepiece: publication’s name and logo

Tots abbreviation for triumph over tragedy story, particularly popular human interest genre.

Trim: cut a report

URL: uniform resource location: a string of characters identifying internet resource

Whistleblower: person revealing newsworthy and previously secret information to media.

Zeitgeist: spirit of the age
Nepal votes in historic polls

Nearly 67 per cent of voters exercised their franchise in the historic Constituent Assembly elections in Nepal on Thursday amid sporadic incidents of violence, which claimed the life of a Nepali Congress cadre.

According to the preliminary information of the Election Commission, more than 60 to 67 per cent people exercised their franchise in Thursday's election.

The elections were also postponed in few constituencies.

Voting has been postponed in around two dozen polling centres due to the clashes between the party cadres.

Election was held peacefully compared to the previous elections, officials said. This is the first time that the CA polls were held after the Maoists came to the peace process couple of years ago.

Election was held for the first time to write a new Constitution and decide the future of the 240-year monarchy in Nepal.

Polling started at 0700 hours (0645 IST) and ended at 1700 hours (1645 IST), election officials said. Some 6,000 candidates are contesting the election under proportionate voting system while 4,021 candidates are in the fray under direct voting system.

Altogether 55 political parties are participated in the crucial polls in which some 17.6 million people were eligible to vote.

The country has witnessed a violence-marred campaign for the crucial elections.

The vote is a key step towards culmination of the peace process that started with the signing of a November 2006 deal following which the Maoist rebels ended their decade-long insurgency and joined the political mainstream.

The common agenda of the ruling Seven Party Alliance for the election is to abolish monarchy and establish a federal democratic republic.


Raghu Rai's journey began with a borrowed Agfa Super Silette. He captured his first frame, a donkey, on the outskirts of Delhi in 1965. The black and white picture was picked up by The Times, and, thus began Rai's romance with photography.
Journey of a Moment in Time at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi has vignettes from Rai's 40 years of photography. About the journey so far, he says: "My work involved composing powerful photo editorials. Unlike today's media that is mostly infotainment, our work had a serious purpose to it."

Rai has no explanation for his ability to mesmerise the observer. "It is difficult to describe my work. Basically, the title of my show has a lot to say-capturing a moment. For me, it has been the journey of the moment all these years. So people of different age groups and backgrounds relate to them in some way or the other," he says.

Says Union Minister for Tourism and Culture Ambika Soni, who inaugurated the show in Delhi: "Whenever I see his work, I feel the photographs are on hold. The moment you press a button, they would come alive." Rai's show which is on in Delhi till April 15, will move to Mumbai on May 6.

Although he worked exclusively in black and white during the first two decades of his career, Rai is now trying other mediums. "The emotional aspect of a situation is most important, medium comes next," he says.

An image from 1984 haunts you long after you leave the place. It shows a hand caressing a little face whose staring eyes are filmed with dust. "On the morning after the Bhopal gas tragedy, I found a man burying his daughter with his bare hands," says Rai. "He had covered the body with soil, but wanted to see her face for the last time."


Monzon ridden by Colin Bolger goes over the last fence on the second day of the Grand National meeting at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool, northern England, April 4, 2008.

President George W. Bush tears up during a ceremony to present the Medal of Honor posthumously to Navy SEAL Petty Officer Michael Monsoor, in the East Room of the White House in Washington April 8, 2008. Monsoor died after diving onto a grenade during an attack on his combat team's sniper nest on September 29, 2006 in Ramadi, Iraq

Salman Rushdie works include:-

Midnight’s Children
The Satanic Verses
Shalimar the Clown
The Enchantress of Florence

Americans mark 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King's assassination

Flowers lie on the plaque that lays at Lorraine Motel, now part of the National Civil Rights Museum, where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis, April 4, 2008. April 4th marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of the civil rights leader who was shot as he stood on the balcony of Lorraine Motel

Honey Lee: world's No. 1 beauty (xinhua)
Honey Lee, Miss Korea Universe, is voted as the world's No.1 beauty on


Nose for News!!!
Take the following news quiz to check your current awareness.

1. What could you do with the $37 billion UBS lost?
Buy 4,000 tons of the best Caspian beluga caviar
Pay for the Olympic games in London in 2012 twice over
Buy almost 140,000 houses in the U.S. based on average price
All of the above (correct answer)

2. President Bush flattered French President Nicolas Sarkozy by comparing him to:
3. A survey of classic rock radio fans showed they were more likely to vote:
4. According to outgoing Alitalia Chairman Maurizio Prato, who is the only one that can save the struggling airline?
An exorcist
5. A study debunked which myth about drinking eight glasses of water a day?
It improves your skin tone
6. Which brand has the biggest impact on world consumers, according to a survey this week?
7. Sixteen-year-old Ryuki Omura was crowned Japan's first nationwide champion for spinning...
A pen
8. What is the greatest guitar riff of all time, according to a poll by a London music school credited with teaching Radiohead, The Kinks and The Cure?
"Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple
9. Which of the following April 1 headlines was not an April Fool's joke?
Pay-per-view funerals go live online

10. A man in Germany slept in a hotel instead of his two-story home because...
His weapons collections left him no space for living


"Etreinte" (Embrace), a watercolour, shows a nude Picasso entwined in an intimate embrace with his girlfriend Louise Lenoir, known as Odette.

News as spectacle

Headlines Today’s blah-blah-blah house advertisement turns criticism of frivolous news on its head. It lampoons those anchors and commentators who present and discuss serious news, showing them boring the wits out of a prostrate young viewer, l istlessly flipping channels. And then proceeds to make a virtue out of what it has to offer. Not information, God forbid, but something guaranteed to make the young and listless sit up.

One evening last week that meant anchor Gaurav Sawant in a pink polka dotted tie offering excited commentary on something picked up from Canada — a magazine cover shoot gone awry, with a tiger on a leash lunging at a woman. On the evening bulletin they played the attack (playful, even if it broke ribs) some five times in two minutes. By prime time at night the looping of that scene had speeded up to nine times in about a minute. “Refreshingly different?” Yeah, right.

The same night, Star News was shedding crocodile tears for women whose boyfriends made blue films by filming them surreptitiously, while News 24 was living off the story of the Bangalore couple where the husband killed his allegedly unfaithful wife and committed suicide. Since all this was on the night of R K Sharma’s sentencing in the Shivani Bhatnagar case, we should be grateful that they weren’t harking back ad nauseam to that murder and reconstructing it for us.

A new culture

A new book, News as Entertainment, quotes Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein’s apt description of what he called a “sleazoid information culture”: “...we teach our readers and our viewers that trivial is significant, that the lurid and the loopy are more important than real news.” If that sounds like it was written to describe what we are witnessing in India, well, the book says that India is the world’s largest news market today with some 40 satellite news channels, who are inventive practitioners of infotainment.

Daya Kishan Thussu’s take on the rise of global infotainment chronicles what is now a worldwide phenomenon, with a chapter allotted to India and its devotion to the three Cs: cinema, crime and cricket. News as Entertainment maps the political, economic and technological context of this major change in the culture of news. The shift from public service to private television journalism in the post Cold War era comes from the impact of liberalisation and deregulation, including trans-national liberalisation promoted by the World Trade Organisation. The technological context is new communication technologies, satellites and digital broadcasting which have made the global expansion of news and current affairs channels possible.

The fount of infotainment (the word was to be found in Roget’s Thesaurus by 1992, says the author) is of course the United States with its merger of entertainment and information corporations and the resulting commercialism of television news. He describes the entertainment giant Viacom, which owns Nickelodeon, MTV, Paramount Pictures as well as CBS News, as a “cradle-to-grave advertising depot” catering to all generations with its products. And then there is Murdoch and his Fox Network, whose sterling contribution to dumbing down, using live coverage of cricket to enter media markets worldwide, and selling war coverage as entertainment is duly documented. These are infotainment conglomerates that control both hardware and software, worldwide.
Blurring boundaries

Though it does not figure here, we are in the process of seeing the emergence of Indian infortainment conglomerates in UTV and Network 18, and in Anil Ambani’s growing media and entertainment empire. All three will produce and distribute everything from news to TV entertainment to movies in time to come. And doubtless, the distinctions between the three genres will become increasingly seamless.

And what does that do to how the viewer gets to see the world around him? We’ve already seen news channels in India dipping into movie clips to pad up coverage of events, and using actors to reconstruct crime stories. Thussu’s chapter on war and infotainment talks about the Fox-ification of war coverage, and it is worth harking back to on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war. What you saw in the early days after 9/11 if you were a viewer of Fox News was a correspondent reporting the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan like this: “We’ve been in various conflicts, and we’ve kept our chin up and kept focused on the fact that we want Osama bin Laden to end up either behind bars or six feet under or maybe just one foot under or maybe just a pile of ash you know. That’s it.” And the anchor adds, “All right. Well said, Geraldo.”

When the U.S. invasion of Iraq began, Fox News chose the Pentagon’s name for the invasion, “Operation Iraqi Freedom” as the tagline for its coverage, and instructed its reporters to refer to U.S. Marines as “sharp shooters” rather than “snipers”. Viewers evidently approved: Fox’s coverage got better ratings than the others, says Thussu. As Headlines Today will doubtless discover in its quest to be “refreshingly different”, once you’ve decided to dump the old norms of news reporting, the possibilities are endless. (source: The Hindu)


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