Some Journalistic Jargon To Think About

Close your eyes and think of the classic image of a journalist… I imagine a dedicated, hard working sleuth, stuck in a 1950’s style office. The typewriter is ready to go, the phones are constantly ringing – the whole place is a hive of activity. In the background lurks the editor – ready to come over at any point and ask for some great news stories. In this day and age, the romantic image of the investigative journalist is long gone. But the jargon and buzzwords loved by editors and writers alike still remain. If you were in the writer’s hot seat and the editor walked past complaining about the ‘gutter’ or what to do with the ‘back of the book’ – would you have a clue? For all those would-be super-sleuths out there, here’s a run down of some words to look out for. MASTHEAD – used to describe the space where the title of the publication goes. BACK BENCH – where all senior members of the journalistic team sit. GUTTER – The space between two columns. HOUSE STYLE – Phrase used to describe the style of the publication. Many newspapers and magazines will also have their own ‘style book‘ as a guide for new writers. CAPTION – Used under photos/images to describe the image. SCOOP – Get one of these and your boss will be cook-a-hoop. It’s used to describe an exclusive story which nobody else has. HARD COPY – Used to describe a story when it is published. STANDFIRST / STRAPLINE – a Line of text under the main headline which gives more detail on the story. TEASER – Describes what is in the publication or previews a special story or series of features. BACK OF THE BOOK – Terms which describes the back section of the publication. NIB – ‘News in Brief’ A very short outline of a news story. Used in a very memorable way by The Sun on page three. ABOVE THE FOLD – Describes the part of a broadsheet on display when folded in half.

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