The media, like all industries, have their own languages and specialist words which practitioners and users may need to know. The News Manual glossary contains more than 800 definitions of terms about journalism and the media – including new media – making it one of the biggest, most extensive journalism glossaries in English available free online.
Spelling and punctuation of terms occasionally vary. We usually give the most common form but where this is unclear we give alternatives. We also give prominence to terms based on Commonwealth practices, with others – such as those used in the US – also given where appropriate.
No glossary is ever complete. This one will grow and change along with the media. If there are terms missing or incorrectly defined, please let us know via the Comments box at the bottom of the page.
Please note: The terms listed alphabetically below were last updated on this website in October 2022. For the most up-to-date edition, go to The News Manual master glossary. Clicking on the letters A to Z or “back to the top” links below will take you automatically to the master glossary.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
AAP: Australian Associated Press, an industry-owned, Australian-based agency supplying news for a fee to the media.
active proceedings (sub judice): Legal proceedings are said to be active – with constraints on reporting, such as contempt laws – when a person has been arrested or charged, or a warrant or summons has been issued.
ABC: (1) Audit Bureaux of Circulations, industry-owned companies which audit (and verify) print media circulation figures. The ABCe (Audit Bureau of Circulations Electronic) audits traffic figures for online publications. Also: (2) Australian Broadcasting Corporation, (3) the American Broadcasting Company, (4) the Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (Japan) and (5) the Associated Broadcasting Company (Philippines).
ABU (Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union): An international, non-profit, non-government, professional association established in 1964 to support the development of broadcasting in its region, promote the collective interests of television and radio broadcasters and encourage co-operation. Based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with more than 270 members, it is the worlds largest broadcasting union geographically and demographically.
ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority): An Australian statutory authority within the Federal Government’s Communications portfolio, established to oversee relevant media and communications legislation, regulations, standards and codes of practice.
actuality: In radio, the sound of something actually happening, people speaking etc. Can also mean specifically audio material recorded out of the studio on location, either voices or other sounds such as ambient noise. Sometimes called a sound bite. In television sometimes called sync.
ad: Short for advertisement.
add: Additional copy, to be added to a story already written.
ad-lib: Unscripted talking, usually by a broadcaster. From the Latin ad libitum ‘at one’s pleasure’.
advance: (1) A story looking ahead to a future event. (2) To bring a story forward in a bulletin or earlier in a newspaper. (3) An up-front payment for commissioned work, such as a longer article or a book.
advance obituary: An obituary about a newsworthy person written in advance, ready for immediate publication or broadcast on their death. Advance obituaries are kept in a morgue.
advertorial: An advertisement written in the style of a news item or feature, often provided by the publisher to complement adverts sold on that page. Ethically, advertorials should be clearly identified as such.
advocacy journalism: A type of journalism in which journalists openly and intentionally takes sides on issues and express their opinions in reporting. It attempts to be factually based and is not to be confused with badly-practised objective journalism or propaganda.
agony column: An old-fashioned term for a regular newspaper, magazine or website section where a columnist gives personal advice to readers’ questions. The columnist was often called an “agony aunt”.
algorithms: In media, computer programs that use the automated analysis of statistics obtained from internet usage to solve problems, including choosing how, what and when information is delivered to people en masse and individually.
all caps: A printing instruction to set a word or sentence using all capital letters.
ambiance or ambient sound: The background sound in a place where a recording is made, e.g. traffic in a street interview. See also atmos.
ambulance chaser: A reporter or photojournalist who rushes to the scenes of tragedies to be first with sensational coverage.
ampersand: The & symbol for “and”.
amplification: (1) In media, the way an event, message or other media content is grown out of proportion to its original size and importance by being spread from one-to-many, especially by social media. See also viral. (2) To booost an electronic signal or sound.
analogue television and analogue radio: The original method of transmitting television or radio signals using radio waves, increasingly being replaced by higher quality digital broadcasting (television and radio), transmitted in a digital data stream.
anchor: A person who presents a news bulletin from a television studio, usually on a regular basis. See also newsreader and presenter.
anchor intro: (US) See announcer introduction.
angle: Short for news angle, it is that aspect of a story which a journalist chooses to highlight and develop. Usually the most newsworthy of its key points. Also called hook or peg.
announcer introduction: The short part of a radio or television news script, especially in a feature-length segment, that is read by the announcer or presenter to introduce the segment. Also known as presenter introduction or anchor intro in the US. See also back announcement.
anonymous source: There are two types: (1) Someone who sends information to a journalist without revealing their identity; ethical journalists will always confirm the information elsewhere before publishing. (2) A source known to the journalist and perhaps their editor and lawyers but whose identity is kept secret from other staff and the wider community.
AP: Associated Press, the world’s largest independent news agency supplying news services for a fee to media around the world.
AP Stylebook: Associated Press Stylebook, a standard reference source for American journalists on word usage and spelling, including names in the news.
app (application): A software program or collection of programs used to undertake specific tasks with a computer or mobile device. Contrast to system software, which is used to run the computer.
archives: A place where copies of everything published or broadcast by a media company are stored, in original form or digitised, and indexed so they can be searched for. Some big media organisations also keep copies of unused original source material. For example, the Australian public broadcaster the ABC keeps broadcast-quality sound and video footage of all program material, even raw material. Also called a library. See also morgue.
artificial intelligence (AI): Intelligence displayed by machines making their own decisions, sometimes independent of human intervention. AI machines are usually independently aware of the environment in which they operate and can solve problems without being told to.
ascender: The part of a letter that sticks up above its main body, such as in “d” or “h”. Compare with descender below. See also x-height.
assignment: A job given to a journalist by an editorial supervisor, such as a news editor or chief of staff.
atmos: Short for atmosphere, this is background noise recorded on location. In television it is sometimes also called actuality. Sometimes called ambient sound. In audio storytelling such as radio or podcasting, atmos should transport the listener in their imagination to the place itself.
at-tag: Also known as @tag, the @ symbol immediately followed by a name, job descriptions or title (e.g. @lordmayor) that identifies a person or group in social media posts and some message apps. The app searches for other incidences of the specific @tag, linking them together.
attribute: To identify who said something, either as a quote or as reported speech. Attribution is important to maintain credibility.
audience ratings: In audience surveys, the percentage of total potential audience members – whether tuned into any program or not – who are listening to or watching a particular program or station at a given time. Compare with audience share.
audience share: In audience surveys, share is the percentage of a radio or television audience listening or watching at that time that is tuned into a specific station or program in any particular market. Compare with audience ratings.
audio on demand (AOD): A system where users can listen to audio content any time anywhere they want via a website or mobile app, without having to download it first.
audit: An independent assessment of the accuracy of newspaper sales and circulation figures, especially so advertisers can decide where to place their business. See ABC above.
augmented reality (AR): To enhance a real-world experience by using digital technology to add additional sights, sounds and other sensory information.
Autocue: A system of lenses, mirrors and angled glass in front of a studio television camera lens which displays a newsreader’s script as a scrolling image so they can read it without looking down at their script. Also known as a teleprompter.
average issue readership or AIR: The measure of the number of people who have read the newspaper or magazine in the period that it was issued, e.g. daily, monthly etc.
B copy: Copy prepared in advance of an event, to be included in the story when it is published, perhaps as background.
B2B: Short for business-to-business, a specialist magazine or website aimed at readers within specific business field, professions or trade.
back announcement: At the end of a segment in broadcasting, when the presenter gives viewers or listeners brief information about something they have just watched or heard, for example the name of the reporter or of the piece of music which was just played.
back bench: American term for senior production journalists on a newspaper.
back copy: A previous issue of a newspaper or magazine not now on newsstands or in news agents. They may be indexed and stored in archives or may be kept unindexed in general storage. Many publishers let readers purchase actual or facsimile back copies of special interest to them. Called back issues in magazine publishing.
background: (1) Information which is not part of the news event but which helps to explain more about the situation and the story. (2) Another name, usually US, for off-the-record. A backgrounder is the story written.
bad break: A clumsy, difficult to read hyphenation between consecutive lines of text.
Baidu: A large Chinese internet company most famous for its search engine, which is known as ‘the Chinese Google’.
balance: A basic journalism principle of giving both sides of an argument in a fair way so readers or listeners can make up their own mind.
bandwidth: Quantity of data that can be transferred along cables or through wireless connections, including transmission or the internet. Measured in bits per second (digital) or hertz (analogue).
banner: A headline stretching across the width of a page, usually at the top. Also called a streamer.
BARB: Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board, which compiles television ratings (viewer) statistics in the United Kingdom.
BBC: British Broadcasting Corporation, Britain’s national broadcaster.
beat: (US) A specialist area of journalism that a reporter regularly covers, such as police or health. See also round.
beat-up: A news story that might once have been based on facts but which is then exaggerated so much that it becomes innacurate or even false. The whole process is called sensationalising.
bed: In printing, when a newspaper or magazine has been sent to the presses and it is too late to make changes. It is said to be “gone to bed” or “put to bed”. In old fashioned printing, the bed was the flat area where type was assembled before being inked and paper pressed down in it.
best boy: In broadcasting, the second-in-command of a lighting team.
bidirectional mic: A microphone which picks up sound from two directions, front and rear. Compare with omnidirectional and unidirectional microphones.
bill: Short for ‘newspaper billboard‘. A large sheet of paper on a board placed where newspapers or magazines are sold, with eye-catching headline text or graphics promoting a story in that edition.
bio: Short for biography, it is separate information about the person writing the article or significantly involved in the information being presented.
bleed: An image that extends beyond the text area to the edge of the page or screen.
blind interview: A published interview where the interviewee is not named, e.g. ‘a senior official’, sometimes called non-attributable. See also off-the-record. Also, to conduct an interview not knowing the subject matter.
blob: A bullet point in type , used in text layout to list points or to make a separate point at the end of a story.
blockline: A caption for a photograph.
blog: Short for web log, an online commentary or diary often written by individuals about their specialist interests, hobbies, family, politics etc.
blogger: A person who writes a blog. They can be professional commentators or amateur internet users.
blogosphere: (1) All blogs. (2) A virtual world or community created by bloggers and blogging.
blogroll: A list of blogs, usually on the front page of a website, the author thinks readers might wish to visit.
blooper: See out-take below.
blow up: To enlarge part of a photograph or image.
blown quote: See pull-out quote.
blurb: Brief information about the writer, usually either at the top or bottom of the article.
body type: The style of newspaper type used in the body of a story, not in headlines, where it is called display type.
bold: Heavy black type used to emphasise a word or phrase.
bounce rate: A measure of web traffic, it is the percentage of visitors who only visit the front page, i.e. they do not go any further into the site.
box: (1) The solid frame put around a print story to give it prominence. (2) The short article inside the box frame, often associated with some aspect of a major story on the same page. Also called a breakout. See also sidebar.
box brackets: See square brackets.
break: (1) A story that is first published while the event is still happening. Sometimes called breaking news. (2) A short news bulletin which intrrupts a radio or television program to bring the latest news. See news break.
breaking news: Reports of events that are coming in while a newspaper is in the final stages of being published or while a radio or TV bulletin is on air.
breakout: See box above.
bridge: Music or sound effects used to link one item to the next.
bright: US usage, a short, light-hearted story.
broadcast: Transmission to a large number of people by radio or television.
broadsheet: A large format newspaper, usually measuring at least 56 cm (22 inches) long. Also used to describe more serious, less sensational styles of newspaper journalism. Compare with tabloid.
broadside: An early form of single-sheet newspaper, often pasted to walls or sold for a penny, broadsides contained gossip, popular songs, news and advertising.
broadside man: Someone who travelled the country with broadsides, reading them aloud for the illiterate.
broken link: A hyperlink which, when clicked, does not connect to a web page, instead showing an error message such as 404.
browse: In new media terms, to look for information on the internet using a browser, usually by starting in a general area (such as a search engine) then focusing in on specific results.
browser: A software application for retrieving and presenting information on the World Wide Web, usually by finding and presenting web pages. Also called a web browser. Well-known browsers include Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera and Firefox.
bulletin: A organised selection of news stories broadcast on radio or television at a regular time. Can also include elements such as finance information, entertainment news, sports and weather reports etc. In US, more commonly called a newscast.
bump: To move the position of a story, either up or down the scale of priority or position in a bulletin.
bureau: A media organisation’s office away from the main newsroom, often overseas.
byline: The writer’s name, printed at the beginning or end of an article.
cable television: A TV service delivered into the home through a cable, usually for a fee. A form of pay TV. Compare with terrestrial television and satellite television.
call-out: See pull-out quote.
calls: Routine telephone calls to contacts – such as police, courts or emergency services – to check if they have any breaking news.
cancel: To publicly shame an individual or organisation, such that their good reputation is “cancelled” and they lose customers, fans or followers. The phenomenon is called “cancel culture”.
cans: Headset or headphones.
cap: Short for capital letter. Also known as upper case.
caption: In print, short pieces of text placed below or beside pictures to describe them and identify the photographers and/or image owners. Also called a cutline. In television, information superimposed over a picture, usually at the top or bottom of the screen, describing what is being shown. Often used to name and describe the person speaking.
caption story: A photo caption that is extended to be a full, usually short, story.
casual: A journalist employed to work individual shifts while not being an ongoing member of staff. Compare to stringer.
catchline: (1) in journalism, a word or short phrase placed at the top of a page of copy to identify it during the production process but not included in the final published story or script. (2) in advertising, a short, memorable phrase used to catch the reader’s attention.
centrespread: An article, articles, photgraphs or photomontage printed across two pages, usually at the centre of a newspaper or magazine, where pages fall out flat naturally.
chat room: An interactive, often private part of a website where visitors can write messages to each other in real time. See also forums and message boards.
chequebook journalism: The practice of paying the participants in an event a large sum of money for the exclusive rights to their story, to beat competitors. US English: checkbook journalism.
chief reporter: The most senior reporter in a newsroom. In larger newsrooms, may be called a news editor.
chief of staff: A senior journalist in a newsroom who assigns stories to reporters and organises and monitors how they do their work. Often second-in-command to a news editor.
chief sub: Short for chief sub-editor. The person in charge of sub-editors, who assigns work to down-table subs.
chroma key: A process by which a person is filmed in front of a blank screen, onto which is then added still or moving pictures, often to make it appear they are at the scene. Also called greenscreen, bluescreen or Colour Separation Overlay (CSO).
churnalism: Journalism that churns out rewrites of media releases, with no original reporting, just to fill newspaper pages or news bulletins.
Chyron: Company best known for its system of creating news tickers or crawlers in television.
circulation: Number of copies sold by newspapers and magazines. See ABC, The Audit Bureau of Circulations above.
citizen journalism: Journalism outside the established media, usually by ordinary citizens without professional training or organisational experience. Compare to professional journalists. Citizen journalism is commonly practised through blogs and social networking websites and not requiring the large resources of media organisations. Also called participatory journalism and networked journalism.
civic media: A broader type of citizen journalism to include online information sharing.
classified ads: Small newspaper advertisements usually paid for by individuals or small businesses and grouped under different classifications, e.g. houses, cars etc.
clickbait: Content on a web page that uses sensational headlines, language or images that acts as bait to entice a reader to click on a link to find out more but which usually turns out not to be what it promises. Clickbait is used to generate web traffic rather than to assist with navigation or information. See also yellow journalism.
clickthrough: When a website reader clicks on an advert and is redirected to a new page. The “clickthrough rate” measures how often this happens with an ad.
client: A computer or software program that relies on a separate computer (or program) called a server to function.
clip: (1) A single graphic or short excerpt of video, often used on Web pages. (2) A cutting of a newspaper story.
clippings: Also known as clips or cuttings. Saved copies of published articles, traditionally cut or clipped from the newspaper or magazine itself. Often kept in a clippings library or cuttings library.
closed captions: A kind ofsubtitle that can be activated on a screen by the viewer, typically when the audio is difficult to hear or the viewer is deaf or hard of hearing.
closed question: A question which can be answered with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Contrast with open questions, which require longer, more involved answers. ‘Can you tell me?’ is a closed question. ‘What can you tell me?’ is an open question.
CNN effect: Named after the US cable news network, the theory that major news networks reporting on events affect their outcome through the behaviour of people involved.
cod byline: A newspaper byline attributing a story to a fictional reporter. Derived from British slang “cod”, meaning fake.
cold type: A slang word for type setting technologies such as photocomposition, distinguishing it from old typesetting methods that used hot, liquid metal to form three-dimensional printing plates on flatbed or rotary presses to transfer ink to paper, either sheets or rolls. See hot metal.
colour: Extra details in a story which help the reader or listener get a fuller picture of what has happened or what a person is like.
column: (1) In typography, a column is a vertical block of text on a page, separated by margins and/or rules. (2) A regular feature often on a specific topic, written by a person known as a columnist.
column centimetre or column inch: A measurement of text based on the length of a single standard column of type in a specific newspaper or magazine. Also called a single column centimetre (SCCM).
commentator: A broadcaster who is a specialist in a specific area, e.g. cricket or politics, who describes events or games as they are happening or who comments on recent events.
commercial broadcasting: Television or radio networks funded wholly or mainly from advertising. Commercial broadcasters are usually owned by individuals or by companies answerable to shareholders. Compare with public broadcasting.
commercials: Paid for advertisements on television. Radio usually calls these ‘ads’.
commissioning editor: More commonly used in book publishing, in mass media a commissioning editor finds and pays journalists or producers to write articles or make specific program content, usually overseeing their work.
compositor: See typesetter.
confirmation bias: The tendency for people to seek out or focus on information that confirms the views they already hold. See also filter bubble.
conflict of interest: When a journalist allows something with which he or she has a personal stake to interfere with their duty to be fair and objective in covering a story. For example, having shares in a company could make a finance reporter say uncritically good things to boost that company. Conflicts of interest can be real or perceived. Even perceived conflicts of interest should be declared openly.
contact: A person a reporter will visit or telephone (i.e. ‘contact’) for information on a topic they are researching. Contacts are usually sources journalists keep in touch with and approach for information on a regular basis.
contacts book: A book which lists people a journalist knows may be useful, together with their telephone numbers, email addresses, fax numbers, addresses, or whatever other information is needed to contact them.
contempt of court: Disregarding a court’s orders or in any way interfering with the way the court does its job.
content management system (CMS): A program for creating, editing and publishing content such as text, images, audio files and videos on websites.
continuity: Announcements between radio or television programs, often back announcing the previous program or looking forward to forthcoming programs.
contrast: On a display or TV screen, contrast is the difference between two elements that make them stand out separately. Poor contrast between the background and text on the screen can create problems with the readability of the text.
convergence: The bringing together of different media technologies such as radio, print, video and the internet so they work together to improve communications. For example, playing video reports on Web pages or print journalists recording interviews for broadcast online.
cookie: A small file that is downloaded to a person’s computer when they visit a website, so the site can remember details about the computer for next time.
copy: Written material for publication. In broadcasting also called a script.
copy editor: A person on a newspaper or magazine who corrects or edits copy written by a reporter, writes headlines and places the story on a page. The copy editor ensures the text flows, makes sense, is fair and accurate, and poses no legal problems. Also called a sub-editor.
copyreader: A person who checks typeset proofs and/or computer printouts to detect errors such as spelling mistakes and bad punctuation before the final printing of a publication. Also called a proof reader.
copyright: The legal right to control the use of a literary, musical, dramatic or artistic work, more specifically by making or using copies of that work.
copy taster: A senior sub-editor who looks at incoming copy and decides what will be used.
copywriting: Writing the text for advertisements.
correction: A short article in a newspaper or statement on air correcting a significant error in a previous story, often in response to a complaint or a judgment against the media organisation. A correction may also contain an apology to specified people affected by the error.
correspondent: A journalist who writes from a position of expertise, either in a subject matter or geographical area, e.g. arts correspondent or European correspondent.
cover line (or coverline): A caption on a magazine cover.
cover story: The most important story featured on the front cover of a magazine, often by an illustration.
cq: A notation made during copy editing to show a questionable word, phrase or name spelling has been checked as accurate. From Latin “cadit quaestio”. Compare with sic.
crawl or crawler: Type moving across the top or bottom of a television screen. Used by news stations to show the main headlines of the moment, stock exchange prices, the weather or other useful current information. Also called a news ticker.
Creative Commons: Creative Commons is a copyright licensing system that allows copyright holders to give general permission for people to use their material free of charge under some circumstances. It is run by the not-for-profit creativecommons.org.
credit line: Text next to or following a story or picture acknowledging its source.
crony journalism: To write positively about someone the journalist knows as a favour.
crop: To cut unwanted portions from a photograph for publication.
cross fade: To move from one audio or video source to another, by fading down the first while fading up the second.
crosshead (cross-head): A word or phrase in larger type used to break up long columns of text. Crossheads often use a fragment of a strong quote from later in the article.
cross promotion: To use one outlet of a media company to promote something in another outlet. For example, to promote a magazine story on a radio station owned by the same company.
cross talk: Interference from one sound source breaking into another.
crowdsourcing: A business model in which an individual, company or organisation appeals to the general public for help in completing a task or project. People who take up the offer to help may be rewarded in some way (e.g. by feeling virtuous), though seldom with money.
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): Instructions used to determine the look and formatting for documents, usually HTML web pages, such as layout, colours and fonts.
cub: Old-fashioned term for a trainee journalist. Also known as a rookie.
cue: (1) To prepare a piece of audio or video so that it starts at the beginning at the press of a button. (2) A signal in a studio that an item is about to start or end.
cue sheet: A radio script containing the introduction to a report, details about any inserts, any back announcements and durations of segments.
curtain raiser: Story written before an event, preparing the audience for when it happens. Often used at the start of an election campaign, sporting competition or theatre season etc.
cut: (1) To remove text from an article or whole stories or to reduce the length of a program item. (2) Another word for a grab or separate segments of audio in a sequence, e.g. Cut 1, Cut 2 etc. (3) Short for ‘cutting’, see clipping above.
cut-away or cutaway: A technique in television editing to break up a lengthy shot on one subject, to hide a join where footage has been cut or to make a transition between two scenes. In long interviews, the camera may ‘cut away’ to a shot of the interviewer (See noddy) then return to the interviewee.
cutline: See caption above.
cuttings: See clippings above.
cuttings job: An article written using mainly material from other articles, with little or no original input by the writer. A shoddy or lazy form of journalism.
cyber-journalist: A journalist working on the internet.
DAB: See digital broadcasting.
data-driven journalism: Writing a story from research into large amounts of data on a subject, possibly from surveys or research in an area.
data visualisation: Turning information or data into pictures, graphs or graphics for easier understanding by readers and viewers.
dateline: A line in contrasting type at the top of a story stating the city and/or country from which the story was filed. Used mostly with foreign stories, with the reporter’s byline. Rarely also contains the date of filing.
dB: Short for decibel. Unit of measurement of loudness of sound.
dead air: An extended unwanted silence on radio, often caused by technical or operating errors.
deadline: The time the editor or producer sets by which the reporter must submit a finished story.
death-knock: An assignment in which a reporter calls at the home of a bereaved relative or friend when gathering information about a death. Also known as door-stepping.
deck: (1) The number of rows in a headline. (2) A sub head(line) below the main headline, describing a key part of the story. See also sub head.
defamation: To print or broadcast something bad about a person which does them harm. Also called libel and slander. See The News Manual chapters on defamation.
delay: Equipment in a radio studio which stores seven seconds of program in memory before sending it to the transmitter. Delay is used during phone-ins and talkback programs so if a caller says something that should not go on air (e.g. defamatory comments), the presenter can press a dump button which effectively deletes the preceding seven seconds and returns the program to real time transmission.
delayed intro: See drop intro.
descender: The part of a letter that drops down below its main body, such as in “p” or “g”. Compare with ascender above. See also x-height.
desktop publishing: Using a personal computer and page layout software to create documents, including newspapers, magazines and website content.
desktop publishing point (DTP): The smallest unit of measuring fonts in desktop publishing, as opposed to the point measure used when printing. Also called PostScript point. It is approximately 0.35 mm.
diary: (1) A large book or application on a newsroom computer system into which journalists put information about forthcoming events which might make a story. (2) A regular newspaper column of gossip or short human interest stories.
digital broadcasting: An advanced system of broadcasting radio (DAB or DRB) or television (DTV) in digital pulses rather than waves and which gives improved quality and/or more channels of content. There are currently two quality levels in television, standard definition (SDTV) and high definition (HDTV).
digital divide: The gap between people who have access to a wide range of digital communications systems and those who do not for reasons such as income, economic development, education and age.
digital media: Media produced and distributed using computers and/or the internet, as opposed to media either produced using mainly pre-digital processes (e.g. printing presses) or distributed in physical, non-digital form (e.g. printed newspapers or analogue television). So-called “traditional media” or “old media” can be digital media without being new media. Contrast with analogue television and radio.
digital signature: a special code within a digital message or document proving its authenticity, i.e. that it was created by a known sender and was not changed in transit.
digital tool: A tool is a device for doing a job, so a digital tool is piece of software usually designed to perform a specific function, often within a larger program or as part of a digital platform.
dinkus: A small drawing or symbol used to decorate a page, break up a block of type or identify a regular feature in a newspaper.
direct quote: The exact words used by a person, written within quotation marks and usually attributed to them.
director: In TV news, the director is usually a studio director, in charge technically of getting the bulletin to air. The editorial decisions are made by a producer.
display type: A size of newspaper type larger than that used for the main body of a story, usually in headlines, advertisements etc.
digital radio broadcasting (DRB): Also called digital audio broadcasting (DAB), a method of transmitting radio signals in data streams giving a much higher quality than the old analogue system and allowing more programming channels within the same amount of spectrum. Special radio receivers are required.
Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM): A global open standard for the broadcast of digital radio on short-wave, AM/medium-wave and long-wave frequencies.
digital television (DTV): The modern method of transmitting sound and images in a data stream. DTV is higher quality than the old analogue TV. High definition digital TV (HDTV) is higher quality still. Special television sets are required to receive and display it.
direct marketing: Sending advertising material directly to potential customers either by post, fax, email or telephone, not using mass media.
documentary: Sometimes shortened to ‘doco’. A longer radio or television report of half-an-hour or longer, usually explaining and analysing a single issue using multiple elements, multiple interviews and other audio and images.
donut: A television interview in which the studio presenter hands over to a journalist on location who interviews guests before handing back to the presenter in the studio. Term used mainly by the BBC. See also two-way.
door-stepping: To turn up at a person’s home or place of work without warning or prior arrangement to get an interview. Door-stepping implies the person may be reluctant to speak and may be confronting. Some broadcasters also use the term for an unheralded phone interview. See also death-knock.
double-ender: An interview between a presenter in the studio and guest somewhere else.
doublespeak: A kind of weasel word or phrase used to hide or justify something bad the speaker is ashamed to have exposed.
double-spread or double-page spread: Two facing pages of a newspaper or magazine across which stories, pictures, adverts and other components are spread as if they were one page.
download: To receive and save a file over the internet. Contrast with upload, which is to send a file via the internet to another system or server, where it can be stored for replaying or downloading.
doxing or doxxing: An internet term meaning to uncover and make public private information about an individual or organisation with the specific intention of doing them harm. Unlike journalism, doxing typically has little or no public interest justification.
draft: The first version of an article before submission to an editor.
DRM: See Digital Radio Mondiale above.
double-page spread (DPS): Two facing pages in a newspaper or magazine that are designed as one unit of interrelated articles. Also called a spread.
downtable sub: A sub-editor who works under the direction of more senior sub-editors, preparing copy for publication or broadcast.
DRB: See digital broadcasting.
drop cap: The initial capital letter of the first word in a story that is often decorative and enlarged so it occupies space on the line or lines immediiately below it. A raised cap is so large it stands out above the height of the text that follows it.
drop intro: Also called a delayed intro. A style of intro writing in which the main key point is not mentioned until the second or third sentence. Used for effect, often in humorous stories.
drop out: To lose audio or video signal.
dub: To re-record sound and/or vision onto another tape. See also over-dub.
dummy: See layout below.
dump: To drop a caller during a phone-in or talkback program. See delay above.
EBU (European Broadcasting Union): An industry organisation representing and supporting public service media, with 73 members in 56 European countries.
edit: To prepare raw material – such as text or recorded vision – for publication or broadcast, checking aspects such as accuracy, spelling, grammar, style, clarity etc. See also sub-editor.
edition: A newspaper or magazine printed in a single run of the presses. It may be changed for different purposes, e.g. country edition, city edition, final edition etc.
editor: (1) The person – usually a journalist – in charge of the editorial content and direction of a newspaper, magazine or other news outlet. (2) A person in charge of a special section of news output, e.g. sports editor, political editor etc. (3) Someone who prepares material for print or broadcast. See also news editor.
editorial: (1) An article written by, or on behalf of, an editor, giving the news organisation’s opinion on an issue. (2) An adjective describing issues relating to news content as opposed to advertising or other non-news aspects of a newspaper or magazine.
editorial cartoon: A cartoon which appears on the editorial page, commenting on a current controversy.
editorial conference: A meeting of senior editorial managers and staff to plan the day’s coverage.
editorial page: A page where the newspaper or magazine’s editorial (1) is printed, often with letters to the editor. Also called an opinion page.
editorialise: A derogatory description for writing in an opinionated, subjective manner.
edit suite: A small room equipped with specialist television or radio editing equipment where pre-recorded material can be processed into a final news report, feature or documentary.
effects: Shortened to FX. Sound effects added to vision or natural sound during the editing process on radio or TV.
EFP, EJ and ENG: Electronic field production, electronic journalism and electronic news gathering. Television news gathering which replaced film couriered back to the newsroom with electronic methods such as video and microwave links to the studio.
ellipsis: A punctuation mark consisting of three dots, i.e. … used to show that words or phrases have been intentionally omitted from text. They should not be used to alter the meaning of the sentence or paragraph.
embargo: Limitation on the earliest time when a news item given to a journalist can be published or broadcast, usually a date.
embedding: (1) In journalism, to embed or place a reporter within an organisation (usually military) so he or she can report from within it. (2) In new media, displaying and playing audio or video directly on a website, rather than linking to it.
emoji: A small image usually added to the end of a sentence or message to express an emotion or an idea. Emojis began as faces with stylised expressions but now include simplified images of a range of objects.
end or ends: Typed at the end of copy to signify the end of the article and there is no more to come. See also “more”.
endnote: A paragraph in a different type after the end of an article giving additional information about the writer or – the case of a review – the publication or performance details.
ENG: See EFP above.
exclusive: Popularly called a ‘scoop’. An important or significant story that no other news outlet has. Exclusives are usually achieved by good contacts, extra hard work, luck or paying money to someone.
executive producer (EP): The editorial person in charge of a production unit or a series of programs, having control over content, production and, in many cases, staff. See also producer.
ezine: (Pronounced e-zeen). An internet magazine.
face: See typeface below.
facsimile: The exact reproduction of text, pages or other images. The abbreviated “fax” is an exact copy transmitted over telephone lines or through an app on a mobile device.
fact: Something which is true and can be proved to be true by objective methods. Compare with opinion.
fact checker: Someone who checks the truth or otherwise of information presented as fact in news media. Some news organisations employ their own fact checkers to check copy before it is published and there are also non-profit and commercial fact checking organisations that check stories after publication.
fade: In broadcasting, to gradually change the intensity of a sound or picture. Fade-up or fade-in increases the intensity (e.g. volume of a sound or brightness and clarity of a picture), fade-down or fade-out decreases it.
fairness: In journalism, fairness requires not favouring one viewpoint over another in collecting and presenting news and opinion. Different viewpoints are presented accurately, even those with which the journalist personally disagrees.
fake news: (1) a made-up story that has been written or presented to seem like genuine news; (2) an accusation made fashionable by US President Donald Trump to undermine the validity of genuine news stories he disliked.
fax: See facsimile above.
FCC (Federal Communications Commission): A US agency that regulates interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The five commissioners are appointed by the US President.
feature: A longer article or radio story, usually in greater depth and complexity than a simple news item. Features may grow from a current news event or simply be examining a timeless issue. Features which are not strongly connected to hard news events are often called soft features. In radio, features usually have a mixture of elements, including the reporter’s voice, interviews and other sounds. Longer features may be called documentarie.
feed: (1) In traditional journalism, the transfer of information from a source to a recipient, whether raw information from reporter to studio or finished reports fed to a transmitter or another station for broadcast. (2) On the internet generally (also known as webfeeds or blog feeds), it is information drawn automatically from a remote source, often summaries of news stories or blog posts, that include web links to longer versions. Feed reader programs can combine the contents of multiple web feeds for display on one or more screens. RSS is one form of feed.
feedback: An unwanted noise created when the output of an audio speaker feeds back into a microphone in the same system and is amplified as this happens in an increasing loop, resulting in a high-pitched squeal. Also called howl-round.
file: To send a report from a reporter on location to the newsroom or studio.
file footage: Segments of video or film footage kept in tape libraries – or on newsroom computer archives – to illustrate either (1) general events such as crowds shopping or aeroplanes taxiing at airports or (2) past events used in current stories. See also stock footage.
filler: (1) A short news item or advertisements, usually timeless, used to fill small spaces in a newspaper or bulletin. (2) Also called fill-in, a short piece of mujsic to fill a gap between program elements.
filter bubble: A phenomenon where an individual’s search for information on the internet is “learned” by the search engine or a website’s programming algorithms, which then return results for similar material that fits the person’s profile and not for material which is different. It can lead to people living increasingly within an existing worldview without it being challenged. See also confirmation bias.
first amendment: A part of the Constitution of the USA that stops government from restricting the rights of people to freedoms of media and communications, assembly, religion and to take their grievances to government. Other countries may protect these rights by their own constitutions, bills of rights or other laws. See also press freedom and free press democracy.
five Ws and H: See WWWWW and H below.
fixer: A local person (often a journalist) employed to help a foriegn correspondent with interpreting, making arrangements and understanding local life, political systems and cultures.
flash: (1) A brief news story which interrupts normal radio or television programming, usually to tell of a major breaking event. (2) A short message from a news agency alerting subscribers to a major breaking event, about which they will shortly provide more detailed coverage. See also snap and rush below.
flatplan: Traditionally sheets of paper showing the proposed layout of items such as stories and adverts in a newspaper or magazine as it is sent to the printer. Increasingly, these are laid out on computer screens using special flatplan software.
float: Pictures or vision shown on television while the presenter is talking or interviewing a guest. They ‘float’ over the presenter’s voice to illustrate aspects of what the presenter or guest is talking about. Sometimes called out of vision (OOV) or underlay.
flub: See out-take below.
flush: See unjustified text.
FOI: See Freedom of Information below.
fold: In newspapers, an area across the middle distinguishing the top from the bottom halves. When on display folded, important stories and headlines are said to be “above the fold”, while less important stories are “below the fold”.
folio: A label at the top of a page devoted to a single issue or category of stories, e.g. “International News”.
follow-up: A story which is written to report new or more detailed information on a story which has already been published or broadcast.
font: In printing, a set of characters – letters, numbers and punctuation marks – of a single size and style of a particular typeface.
footage: (1) Video or film recordings, originally on tape and measured in feet. See also stock footage. (2) Raw, unedited film or video materials.
format: In print, the overall shape and design of text or pages. In broadcasting, the style of presentation, such as “news format” or “entertainment format” etc. The verb “to format” means to give elements a predetermined style or way of looking or behaving.
forum: An online site, also known as a message board, where people can hold discussions
free media democracy: Also known as free press democracy, but explicitly encompassing broadcasting and other electronic media, including social media.
free press: (1) Media restrained by governments beyond ordinary laws of the society. See also free press democracy. (2) Media products given to their audiences without payment.
free press democracy: A political and socio-economic system where media organisations are not controlled by government and are free to report critically on governments that are elected in free and fair multi-party elections. Also called free media democracies.
Freedom of Information (FOI): Laws which require a government body to release information to the public on request or to state why requested information will not be released.
freelance journalist (freelancer): Usually a reporter or editor not formally employed by any media organisation, instead working on projects under contract or paid individual amounts for work accepted for publication or broadcast. See also lineage.
freesheet: A usually cheaper publication that is circulated free readers, making its revenue from advertising or from grants of gifts.
free-to-air: Television broadcast on public spectrum which is free to viewers. It is usually funded by taxpayers (public broadcasting) or advertising (commercial broadcasting). Occasionally also used to describe normal radio broadcasts which are free to listeners with conventional radio receivers. Compare with pay TV or subscription radio.
Freeview: A free-to-air digital television partnership, (1) in Britain between the BBC, BSkyB and Crown Castle and (2) in Australia between commercial and public broadcasters.
FX: See effects.
galley: A place where prepared type is kept before being put onto a page.
galley proof: A printout of text for checking before it is inserted onto a page.
gatefold: In printed magazines, an extra page that folds out to form a larger page, usually to display bigger photos and images, such as maps or charts.
geotagging: (Also known as geolocation) Data attached to a photo, video, or message containing information about the location at which it was created or uploaded.
get: A very good or exclusive interview.
ghost writer: A journalist who writes a book or longer-form article on behalf of someone not able to do it, such as a celebrity without high-level writing skills. Ghost writers usually interview the named writer for information and ghost writers are not typically identified in the final publication.
GIF: Graphics Interchange Format, a file format for taking digital images and sending them on the internet. GIF and JPEG (JPG) both compress files to make them smaller to store and send. GIF is considered better for sending images that have solid colours in graphics, text or line art; JPEG is considered better for photographs. See also PNG.
gobbledygook: Language which sounds as if it makes sense but is either meaningless or confusing to the listener or reader. An extreme form of jargon.
Google: The world’s most used search engine.
grab: A short piece of recorded sound, usually taken from a longer interview and used in a news item.
graphic: An illustration in a newspaper, magazine or web page explaining part of a story in a visual way, e.g. troop movements in a battle or a calendar of a sequence of events.
graphics: Often shortened to Gfx, words, diagrams or other illustrations that appear on the television screen.
graf: Mainly US, short for a paragraph of text, which may also be known as a par.
Gregg: A system of shorthand used mainly in the US and associated countries.
grip: A technician who assists with camera and lighting in TV production.
grip and grin: Mainly US, derogatory term for photographs where people shake (grip) hands and smile (grin) at the camera, often at ceremonies to open facilities or receive gifts.
guerrilla marketing: A relatively low cost marketing technique which uses surprise or shock to promote a product or service, especially one which interrupts a consumer to pay special attention. Also used to describe unusual methods which actually do not look like advertising to the consumer.
gutter: A vertical margin of white space where two pages meet. It may also be used for the vertical white space between two columns of text.
gutter journalism: A derogatory term for media which use sensational reporting without concern for the harm it will do individuals.
hack: (1) A derogatory term for a journalist with low standards who performs repetitive work. (2) To gain unauthorised access to another person’t computer or other internet-connected devices.
handout: A sheet of additional information given to journalists, such as a press release or media release.
hangng indent: A paragraph of text where the first line starts on the left margin but subsequent lines start an identical distance away from the margin. See also indent below.
hard copy: Something printed on paper. Compare with soft copy, where words or pictures exist in computerised form as data.
hard news: Immediate and factual accounts of important events or developments. Compare with soft news.
hard out: In broadcasting, a sudden and inflexible ending of material in a bulletin, usually determined by a fixed-length pre-recorded segment or a pre-programmed computer event.
hashtag: The “#” symbol followed by a word or phrase, used to mark a topic in social media messages so people with an interest can find it and other messages like it. On most social networks, clicking a hashtag will reveal all the public and recently published messages that also contain that hashtag.
headline or head: A word or short phrase in large type at the top of an article designed to either summarise the news or grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read it. In broadcasting, headlines are short summaries at the start of a bulletin or program highlighting a few important stories that will follow in full later. Closing headlines come at the end of a bulletin.
heavy type: Letters that are printed or displayed thicker than normal, usually for emphasis.
HDTV: See digital TV above.
hits: A popular but misleading method of counting viewing of websites. Hits counts the number of downloads of every element of a web page, not the page as a whole. A page with 30 text boxes, images, menus and other graphics will count as 30 hits. Page views are a more reliable measure of web traffic.
hold or hold over: To keep an article or report for a later edition or bulletin.
home page: The main or central page of a website. Other pages on the website will usually link back to the home page.
hook: See angle above.
host: (1) The main or central on-air or on-screen person employed in a radio or television program, hosting guests or people on a panel. (2) In computing, the device or program that stores data or websites centrally, making them accessible over the internet.
hot metal type: A now almost wholly abandoned method of printing using solid metal type generated on a Linotype machine from molten lead and tin alloy. See also cold type above.
house ad: An advert promoting the publication in which it appears, often put on a page to fill a gap.
house journal: A publication produced and distributed only to a company’s own staff.
house style: An organisation’s set of rules for how language and other elements are used, usually contained in a style guide available to all editorial staff. Style guides can vary from basic rules on spelling and grammar to complex documents on how words are used and pronounced.
howl-round: See feedback.
HTML (Hyper Text Mark-up Language): The standard computer language for creating web pages and web applications.
human interest story: A news story or feature which focuses on individual people and the effects of issues or events on them. Human interest stories are often used to make ideas more real and concrete in the minds of the viewer, reader or listener. Human interest stories can also cover unusual and interesting aspects of other people’s lives which are not particularly significant to society as a whole.
hyperlink: A word or phrase in web text containing the address of material that can be found elsewhere on the page or website or on other websites and which can be accessed by clicking on it or sometimes hovering a pointer over it. Hyperlinks (or links) typically appear as differently formatted text, often underlined.
ident: See station ID.
impressions: In online media, the number of times an advertisement is loaded onto a web page, whether or not a viewer clicks on it.
imprint: Information printed in a newspaper or magazine showing the publisher details.
in-cue: A written note of the first few words of a piece of pre-recorded of audio (report or interview) to signal to the presenter or production staff how it will start. See also out.
in-house: Within the media organisation itself.
Independent Television News (ITN): A major supplier of news to independent television companies and other television content distributors in Britain.
Independent Television (ITV): The biggest commercial television network in Britain.
indent: To start a line of text several characters inside the margin of a page or column.
index: In newspapers, a table of content, usually on the front page or page 2.
indirect speech: See reported speech.
influencer: Individuals who can influence the behaviour of large numbers of people through their posts on social media, even though they may have little or no presence outside it. Influencers usually make an income from advertisers hoping to reach – or influence – their followers. Because of the ease, simplicity and adaptability of social media, influencers usually drive temporary trends, fads or fashions, so most have short online careers.
infodemic: initially the growth and spread of misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, then more widely applied to any such outbreak, such as false claims about the 2020 US presidential election.
infographics: Data or other information presented in an easy-to-understand visual form using graphs, charts, tables, timelines, lists or maps. Infographics can range from overviews to fine details.
infomercial: In broadcasting, a program segment that is a cross between information and an advertisement. Infomercials are often presented in documentary style but are, in fact, paid-for advertisements for products or services.
insert: (1) Additional text inserted into a story after it has been written, usually to give additional details. (2) Another term for audio used to illustrate a radio report. See also grab. (3) Additional sheets or booklets placed within newspapers or magazines after they are published, often containing advertising.
interactive TV: Digital television broadcasts that have added mechanisms to feed information back-and-forth between the viewer and the TV station, such as to download content or to vote on something using the television remote control.
internet: The global network of interconnected computers. The World Wide Web and email are two parts of the internet. [Note: It used to be spelled with an initial capital I, but most style guides now spell it lower case.]
Internet of Things: A network of machines, devices and appliances that have some level of computerisation inside them that enables them to interact through the internet to perform some functions. A popular household example is a fridge that can re-order food and drink without being told by a human.
interruptible feedback (IFB): A method by which radio or television presenters – and sometimes guests – can hear the program output as well as messages from colleagues through an ear piece or headphones.
interview: A formal, usually structured conversation between a journalist and a source to get information for a story.
intranet: A private computer network within a company or organisation for internal users only.
intro: (1) The first paragraph of a news story, usually containing the most newsworthy part of it. In features and documentaries the intro may just lead the reader or listener into the story. Known as a lead in the US.
intro: (2) In a broadcasting, the part of a script that introduces the next segment (report), it is usually read by the program presenter or announcer. See introduction and announcer introduction.
introduction: In broadcasting, a few words or sentences read by the presenter, telling listeners or viewers about the report which immediately follows.
inverted pyramid: The most common structure for writing a news story, with the main news at the start and the rest of the detail following in decreasing order of importance.
investigative journalism: Finding, reporting and presenting news which other people try to hide. It usually takes longer and requires more research that ordinary news reporting.
IPTV: Internet Protocol television is the delivery of television content over the internet.
issue: (1) The event, development or behaviour a journalist chooses to write about presented as a problem or matter in dispute.
issue: (2) In publishing, the number or name of a single edition in a series, e.g. Issue 11 of a magazine or a Special Issue on Gender.
jargon: Specialised language concerned with a particular subject, culture or profession. It is not usually found in the everyday speech of ordinary readers or listeners and so should be avoided in the general media if possible.
jingle: Short piece of music played on radio to identify a regular feature, program or product being advertised.
journalism: The communication of current issues and events to an audience in a structured way, usually in relation to a set of generally agreed social principles such as accuracy.
journalist: Someone who finds and presents information as news to the audiences of newspapers, magazines, radio or television stations or the internet. Journalists traditionally work within a set of generally agreed societal principles or within professional codes. Professional journalists are usually trained and receive payment for their work.
JPEG: (Also JPG) One of several file formats for making and sharing digital images by compressing them into smaller files. See also GIF.
jump line: A line of type at the bottom of an incomplete newspaper or magazine article which directs the reader to another page where the story is continued. Also the line at the top of the continued article stating the page from which it was continued, also called a ‘from’ line. See also spill.
junk mail: Unwanted and unasked for paper messages sent or delivered to people’s physical mail boxes promoting a product or service. Electronic versions sent via the internet are usually called spam.
justification: Where each line in a column of text aligns to the same left and right margins. This is achieved by stretching or shrinking the width of letters or spaces between words. Sometimes called fully justified or set full. Compare with unjustified.
kerning: A way of setting printed type so that adjacent characters appear to overlap, reducing the amount of horizontal space they require. For example, the capital letters WAV.
key points: Important facts or pieces of information which must be included in a news story. Some will go in the intro, others into the body of the story.
keyword: A word that can be used by a search engine to find all references containing it. Keywords can be used to find words within digital documents, on web pages or on the internet.
kicker: (1) The first sentence or first few words of a story’s intro, set in a larger font size than the body text. (2) A small headline in different type above and slightly to the left of the main headline. (3) A few words at the beginning of a caption to grab the reader’s attention. (4) An ending that finishes a story or bulletin with a climax, surprise, or punch line (see also tailpiece).
kill: To cancel or delete all or part of a story. See also to spike.
kill fee: A reduced fee paid to a freelance journalist for a story that is not used.
label: A headline without a verb.
landscape: A rectangular page format that is wider than it is high. See also portrait.
layout: (1) A plan of how stories, pictures and other elements are to appear on the finished page of a newspaper or magazine. Sometimes called a dummy. (2) A set of stories, pictures and illustrations about a single subject.
layout sub: A sub-editor who specialises in planning the layout of pages.
lead: (Pronounced ‘leed’) (1) The first story in a news bulletin or on the front page of a newspaper. Also called a ‘splash’. (2) In the US, the first paragraph in a story. See also intro. (3) A tip that may lead a reporter to a story.
leader: An article written by the editor or a specialist giving the opinion of the newspaper on an issue. See also definition (1) of editorial above.
leading: (Pronounced ‘ledding’) Adding space between two lines, from the days when type was set in the metal lead.
leading question: A question phrased in such a way as to draw out a specific answer wanted by the questioner.
lede:An alternative (US) spelling of lead (pronounced LEED), meaning the first paragraph of a news story. In many other countries this is called the intro.
legacy media: Media organisations and production systems such as broadcasting and print that pre-date digital production and distribution such as online publishing, blogging, podcasting and social media etc, usually called new media.
legal: To gain the advice of a lawyer on whether a story being prepared for publication might raise legal issues such as defamation.
letters to the editor: Letters from readers published by a newspaper or magazine, expressing their views on previous content or current issues. Letters to the editor are read out on radio or shown on screen while being read out on television.
level: The loudness or volume of a sound.
libel: An older term for defamation. Traditionally, libel was the written form of defamation. Compare with slander.
library: See archives.
lift: To take a news story, feature or quote from another newspaper or broadcaster and use it in your own report.
liftout: A special supplement – often attached to advertising or a promotion – which is inserted into a newspaper or magazine and can be lifted out by a reader.
lift-out quote: Copying a quote or partial quote from within an article and highlighting it next to the body of the text using special type or formatting. See also pull-out quote.
lineage: (pronounced LINE-ij) A traditional method of paying freelance journalists for the number of lines – or column inches/column centimetres – of their work which appeared in a newspaper according to set rates.
linear editing: See non-linear editing.
line-up: A list of reports, interviews or other material compiled for an upcoming news bulletin or newscast, usually placed in the order in which they will be presented.
link rot: The process by which hyperlinks on individual websites or the internet in general point to web pages, servers or other resources that have become unavailable. See also broken links.
Linotype: A machine used to make type for printing before computer typesetting. See hot metal type.
literal: See typo.
live: (Adjective) (1) Being broadcast as it happens. See also on air. (2) A microphone which is switched on and capable of recording sound is said to be ‘live’.
loaded words or loaded questions: Words which, in some contexts, contain strong value judgments and which indicate the user’s position on an issue. Used by a journalist, they often prompt strong reactions from interviewees but this can obscure useful discussions and prompt accusations of bias. ‘Terrorist’ and ‘lazy’ used in some contexts could be examples of loaded words.
lobby journalists: Journalists who report on politics, working in the public areas of parliament buildings or with access to authorised areas.
lock-up: An agreed process by which journalists are taken to a room to see advance copies of a major announcement, such as a government budget, and in which they stay to prepare stories for release as soon as the budget is delivered in parliament or congress.
log: A record of events. (1) In broadcasting, a log (or logger) is a recording of everything which goes to air, kept for legal or regulatory purposes. (2) In television news production, a list of the elements in a report, usually compiled as the material is filed. Similar to a shotlist.
lower case: The small letters of the alphabet, i.e. not capital letters. Abbreviated to l.c.. Compare with upper case.
magazine: (1) A publication produced on a regular basis, containing a variety of articles, often with illustrations. Also called a periodical. (2) A radio or television program covering a number of different topics.
make-up: See layout.
managing editor: The senior editor involved in the day-to-day production of a newspaper or magazine, usually with overall responsibility for the gathering, writing and sub-editing of news.
markup: A sub-editor’s written instructions on a piece of copy on how to handle the text.
mashup: A web page or web application that automatically brings together content from more than one source to create a single new service, such as names of local businesses shown in locations on a map.
mass media: Media technologies such as radio, television, newspapers and magazines that reach large audiences via widespread or mass communication, usually by broadcasting, physical distribution or on the internet. Compare with social media.
masthead: The name of a newspaper in a banner in special, distinctive type at the top of the front page.
media: (1) Short for mass media or news media, publishers or broadcasters bringing news and information to widespread audiences. (2) Plural of medium, different forms of communicating ideas such as digital, visual, sound etc.
media conference: Also called press conference or news conference. When reporters are gathered together to question someone in the news, usually taking it in turns to ask questions. Such gatherings are usually organised by an individual or company to deal with all the media in one session or to promote a new product or service.
media kit: (1) A set of materials provided to journalists by an organisation to promote their products or services. It may contain written documents, photographs, charts, schedules and other information the organisation wants journalists to focus on. (2) Information on advertising and other service costs made available by media companies to potential advertisers.
media officer: Also called press officer, a person employed by a company or other organisation to get positive publicity in the media and deal with enquiries from journalists.
media release: Also called a press release, information sent to the media to give an organisation’s views on an issue or promote a product or service.
megapixel (MP): A million pixels, a measure of the number of pixels in a digital image, the higher the number the clearer and sharper the image.
meme: A short creation in popular culture – often a video clip – that is spread rapidly across the internet, usually through social media, and is widely imitated.
merchandising: Products or actions that promote sales to ordinary consumers. This can include free samples, displays or giving away inexpensive gifts associated with the products or services being advertised, such as pens with the company’s name on.
metadata: Data about data (information about information) that describes how the data (information) is identified, put together and/or used.
mf: See more below
mic: Short for microphone.
microblog: A small or short internet blog that allow users to exchange small elements of content such as short sentences, individual images, or video links. Examples include Twitter and Facebook.
microcast: Small, focused audio and video programs delivered directly to a specialised audience on a program-by-program basis, often by subscription. Contrast with broadcastingto mass audiences.
microfiche: See microfilm below.
microfilm: To save space in newspaper archives, very reduced images of the pages of each edition were printed onto rolls of transparent 16mm or 35mm plastic film that could then be searched for by scrolling through the frames to find a page image that could then be read magnified through a viewing screen called a microfilm reader. When printed on flat sheets of plastic film they are called microfiche. Microfilm has been superseded by digital storage.
misinformation reporter: Similar to a fact checker (see above), a misinformation reporter investigates the source of misinformation (see also fake news above) and then produces news stories about their findings.
moderator: In the online world, a person employed or chosen to determine what content on a platform should be removed for breaching guidelines or community standards. On social media, moderators make judgments on issues such as obscenity, violence, hate language, racism and false information.
mojo: Mobile journalists who use light and portable reporting and communications tools such as mobile camera phones, PDAs and notebook wireless computers to record, edit and transmit their work in text, audio, pictures and video while in the field, without using an office.
monochrome (mono): A photo, image or graphic printed or displayed using only black, white and shades of grey, i.e. without any other colours.
more: Typed at the end of copy to signify that there is more of the story to come, either on another page or later in the process. Often shortened to “mf” for “more follows immediately” or “mtc” for “more to come later”.
morgue: Traditionally a newspaper term for archives, some storing every published copy but others keeping only clippings and photos, normally indexed by specialist archive or library staff. Also a place or file system where advance obituaries are stored for later use.
MPEG: A suite of internationally agreed standard data formats that allow the recording and transmission of video and audio compressed to use less data.
MP3: A digital audio format (MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III) that compresses sound for faster and smaller storage – especially on portable devices – or transmission over the internet. It uses far less data than the other principal digital audio format WAV.
mtc: See more above.
mug shot: Slang for a head-and-shoulders photograph of a person facing the camera.
multimedia: The way of presenting a subject using different types of media, such as video, audio, text and images in combination.
multi-platform or multiplatform: In journalism, stories that are told using more than one technology platform, each platform chosen to best tell that part of the story. For example, a radio documentary may put additional information, transcripts etc on a website for listeners to visit and learn more. A television report may use a social media platform to interact with viewers to enhance the story or gather and share more information.
multiplex: A single digital television or digital radio signal comprising several distinct channels of programming.
multiplier effect: The spread of news or comments from a single story to wider audiences by other media “reporting on reports”.
multitrack: Audio editing equipment, computer application or technique where two or more audio tracks are combined side-by-side into one final sound file. Multitracking allows each track to be started, stopped or adjusted alongside the other tracks, for example to insert sounds or change their relative volume levels
name super: A type of caption on screen, typically the name and title of the person speaking. Also called supers because they are superimposed over the image of the person who is speaking or cap gens (cg) from creation by a caption generator. They can also be called captions.
narrative arc: See story arc.
nat sound (natural sound): (1) The ambient sound recorded at or transmitted from the scene of an event or location report. Also known as wild sound. (2) The sound on a version of a story fed without the reporter’s voice track.
narrowcasting: Transmission of information, entertainment etc to a limited audience often sharing a specific interest or locality.
NCTJ: The National Council for Training of Journalists is the official UK industry accreditation board for journalism courses.
netiquette: Rules of polite behaviour (etiquette) when using the internet.
netizen: A term combining ‘internet’ and ‘citizen’ to define people who use the internet a lot in a professional or intensive way, for example as research or web development, as an established web content provider or just as an influencer.
networked journalism: A form of citizen journalism which relies heavily on information shared through the internet to create stories, often without original research by the writer or producer.
neutral question: A question asked in such a way that it does not imply personal opinion or bias. Compare with loaded questions above.
new media: Usually defined as media of mass communication that came into being because of computers. This contrasts with “old media”, “legacy media” or “traditional media” that predate the computer age, even though they may now use computers as part of their production or distribution. Websites are new media, newspapers and even television are said to be old media. See also digital media.
news: Information which is new, unusually and interesting or significant to the recipient. It is usually about people or related in some way to their lives. News is produced in a structured way by journalists.
news agency: A company that sells stories to media organisations. News agencies may produce news stories or features themselves or collect and redistribute them to media outlets.
news agency wires: See wires below.
newsagent: A shop that specialises in selling newspapers and magazines. Not to be confused with a news agency above. In US it is called a newsdealer.
news aggregator: A web application which gathers syndicated web content – such as online newspapers, blogs, podcasts, and video blogs (vlogs) – in one location for easy viewing. See also RSS.
news angle: See angle above.
news belt: A round-up of short news stories on television.
news break: In broadcasting, a scheduled or unplanned interruption in programming to present a short news bulletin, either previewing an upcoming news program or to give breaking news of an important event.
news bubble: The tendency for people to select news media that reflect and feed their existing biases to the exclusion of other media offering different facts, opinions or views of the world.
newscast: US for a television bulletin.
news conference: See media conference.
newsdealer: See newsagent.
news desk: The main desk in a newsroom, usually where the news editor and/or other senior journalists sit.
news director: The senior person in a television or radio newsroom, in charge of the news output, usually working with or supervising a news program’s executive producer.
news editor: The person in charge of which news events are covered and how news stories are gathered and written by reporters in a newsroom. In smaller newsrooms, this is often done by a chief reporter. See also chief or staff.
news in brief (NIB): Also punctuated as news-in-brief, a collection of short stories or a single story presented in one or two short paragraphs. In print or on a web page, NIBs may appear in a small box or a specific column at the side or bottom of a page. In broadcasting, they may either be a brief insert into other programming or be presented as a block of short stories within a bulletin. Collectively they may also be known as wraps, round-ups or news belts.
news list: A list of stories for coverage in the current edition of a newspaper or forthcoming news bulletin. It is usually prepared by the news editor.
Newspaper Society: British industry body representing regional and local newspaper owners.
newsprint: A cheap, low grade of paper made from recycled paper and wood pulp, used for printing newspapers.
newsreader: (1) The person – often a professional journalist – who presents news bulletins on radio or television. Also called an anchor. (2) Software that helps receive and read RSS blog and news feeds.
newsreels: News and current affairs programs on celluloid reels of film projected in cinemas, often before the start of the main feature film. By the 1960s and 70s these had almost entirely died out, replaced by television bulletins in people’s homes.
newsroom: A specially equipped office where journalists work producing news.
newsstand: A stand, tray or cabinet for displaying newspapers and news magazines for sale, either on the street or in a newsagent or supermarket. A newsstand can also be an open-fronted kiosk on the street or a vending machine which dispenses a newspaper when a coin is inserted in a slot.
news ticker: Also called a crawl or crawler is abbreviated text that scrolls along the bottom of a television screen (in language systems such as English) during news bulletins or current affairs programs alerting viewers to other important news stories. In languages using vertical scripts, many television crawls still appear horizontally.
news value: The qualities or criteria that journalists use to assess whether an event, development or opinion is worthy of preparing and presenting as news. Criteria include whether it is new, unusual, interesting or significant and about people. See What is News.
newsworthy: Aspects of an event or development that make it worth communicating in a news story or feature. See also news value above.
NIB: See news in brief above.
night editor: In a morning newspaper, the most senior journalist left in charge of a newsroom overnight when the editor has left.
noddy: In television, a brief cut-away shot of a reporter or interviewer listening to an interviewee’s answer, often nodding his or her head. Where there is only a single camera, noddies are usually shot after the interview ends and then edited into the finished piece to break up long slabs of the interviewee.
non-attributable: Information for publication or broadcast given on agreement that you do not identify the source. See also off-the-record.
non-linear editing: A television editing technique in which recorded video and audio information is loaded in digital form as separate shots or sequences into individual files (or bins) in an edit suite’s computer and then pieced together as a news report by an editor without having to wind the source tape backwards and forwards. Tape editing used to be a linear process of dubbing individual shots from a source tape onto an edit master in sequence.
nose: (1) The ability to quickly and easily recognise an event or opinion as newsworthy, i.e. likely to produce a news story. (2) A little-used alternative to intro or lead as the first one or two sentences in a news story,
nut graf or nut graph: A paragraph telling the essential elements of a story briefly, i.e. ‘in a nutshell’.
NUJ: The National Union of Journalists is a British trade union and professional organisation for journalists.
OB: Short for outside broadcast. Radio or television programs broadcast from a location outside the studios, usually live, using an OB van or OB truck.
obit or obituary: An article summarising the life and achievements of a person recently dead.
objective journalism: A basic type of journalism practiced in democracies in which the journalists do not allow their personal biases to affect their work, they take a neutral stance even on difficult matters and give a fair representation of events and issues. Compare with advocacy journalism.
objectivity: In journalism, the removal of personal opinions or bias from reporting so that every reader, listener or viewer will receive the same information in the same way.
Ofcom: British Broadcasting industry regulator.
off diary story: A news story which was not expected or scheduled in the diary.
offline: (1) Not connected to the internet or another electronic network. (2) “To go offline” means to have a discussion that is not official or on the record. See also off the record.
off mic: Short for off microphone. (1) Sounds which are are muffled or faint because they are not directed straight into the microphone. (2) Comments which which are unintentionally picked up by a microphone while it is pointed at another subject.
off the record: (1) Information given to a journalist as background on condition that it will not be used in a story. (2) Information given to a journalist for use in a story on condition that the source will not be identified. Type (2) is also called non-attributable information. NB. Journalists should check exactly which of these conditions the source expects. See also background above.
omnidirectional mic: A microphone which picks up sound from all directions. Compare with unidirectional and bidirectional microphones.
on air: A program being currently broadcast to viewers or listeners. A studio which is ‘on air’ is said to be ‘live’.
on diary news: A news story scheduled in the newsroom diary for coverage.
online: On the internet or on a web page.
online journalism: Reporting and writing news specifically for use on the internet.
on spec: Article that is written in case it is needed (i.e. speculative), though it may not be used.
on the record: Information given by a source who has agreed to be identified in the story. Compare with off the record and non-attributable above.
op-ed: Chiefly US, an opinionated story written by a prominent journalist.
op-ed page: The page in a newspaper opposite the editorial page, containing opinion columns, sometimes readers letters and other items expressing opinions.
open question: Also called an open-ended question, a question which cannot be answered with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, but requires the interviewee to give more information. ‘What happened?’ is an open question. Compare with closed question above.
open source: A system of innovators working together – often remotely over the internet – to create digital products or services. The open source material they produce is also usually free for people to use, though it is not necessarily copyright-free.
opinion: A person’s thoughts about something it is not possible to prove is true by objective methods or the person does not wish to prove is true. Compare with fact above.
opinion page: See editorial page.
orphan: A single first line of a paragraph left incomplete at the bottom of a column of text, the rest of the paragraph appearing at the top of the next column of text. Normally avoided in typesetting. See also widow below.
out: An ending. (1) The final words or pictures on a radio or TV report or interview, noted to the director or presenter so they know that segment is finished. Also called an outcue. In reports from the field it is often the reporter’s sign-off name and location. (2) An abrupt ending. See hard out. (3) An abbreviation of out-take, see below.
outcue: See out above.
outlook: A list of events or developments which may be covered in the news that day. First compiled at the start of the newsroom’s day, items may be added or taken away during the day. When actual reports are produced or live interviews are arranged, they are added to the line-up for the upcoming bulletin or newscast.
out of vision (OOV): In television, when a person’s voice is heard, either over the end sequence of a program – such as the credits – or while showing pictures or graphics on-screen. See also float.
outro: (1) (Uncommon) Another term for a back announcement. (2) A popular music term for a section at the end of a piece of music or song, such as an instrumental or a repetitive musical phrase that fades. In clasical music it is more commonly known as a coda.
out-take: In broadcasting, recorded material left out of the program that is finally broadcast. Humorous out-takes are often called flubs or bloopers.
over-dub: To dub sound on top of another sound, so the original sound can still be heard in the background. Usually used to put voice over background or wild sound or to put a translation in one language over the original words spoken in another language.
overline: A line of text appearing above a headline in a smaller font, used to identify the category of a running issue, e.g. the overline “War in Ukraine” appeared above a headline saying “More civilians killed in battle for Kyiv”. Compare with strapline below.
overmatter: In print, having too much text to fit the page or space allotted for a story.
overrun: A program or report which is too long for its allotted time slot. See also run to time.
PA Media: British news agency, formerly known as the Press Association.
pack journalism: When individual journalists competing for coverage of an event or issue act together, like a pack of dogs chasing the same quarry.
package: A completed television news story pre-prepared for a news bulletin and ready for transmission. A package will contain a written introduction for the newsreader, the reporter’s edited report complete with vision and sound and an out-cue for the end. In print, a group of stories on a single issue or related topics spread over multiple pages or a page spread.
pad: To add extra material to a story only to make it longer.
page furniture: Everything on the page of a newspaper, magazine or web page except pictures or story text. Page furniture is designed to promote the medium and attract readers to items elsewhere.
page views: A way of measuring internet traffic on a site by the number of individual web pages visited. Clicking on three separate pages on a website counts as three page views. Compare with hits, which counts the number of individual elements (e.g. photos, text boxes etc) on a page.
page proof: A trial copy of what a page will look like and contain when it is published. In print, it is the last chance to check everything is well.
pagination: How content is spread over pages and how the pages are related in an orderly way.
pamphleteer: An early form of journalism, someone who wrote short printed pamphlets containing news, commentary or political messages. See also broadside.
pan: Slowly moving a television camera left or right in an arc parallel to the ground.
paparazzi: Collective noun for photgraphers who specialise in stalking and photographing celebrities, especially in unflattering or unusual situations.
par: Short for a paragraph of text.
paraphrase: A summary of a person’s words given instead of a direct quote for greater understanding by the audience. See also reported speech.
partial quote: A quote of which only part of the sentence is used. If words are omitted from within the quote used, their absence is signified by ellipsis (three dots), e.g. He said there was ‘every chance…bodies would be found’.
paste up: An older method of printing stories and pasting them onto a page ready to be printed, before computerised desktop design.
patch: See round.
pay-off: The last paragraph in a longer story, often ending with a twist.
pay-per-view: A service in which a person pays only for the individual program or movie they wish to watch. It is usually delivered to the home by cable television or internet download.
pay TV: A television service which viewers pay to receive, usually by subscription or pay-per-view.
paywall: Restricting access to content on a website to people who have paid a subscription. Paywalls are used by online newspapers, magazines and some TV and radio networks to replace the cover price lost from hard copy editions and to meet a decline in advertising.
PDA (Personal Digital Assistant): A small hand-held computer combining a mobile phone, organiser and software to connect to the internet.
PDF (Portable Document Format): A common standardised file format for documents to be reproduced exactly as they appeared when created.
PED: Portable electronic device. See portable digital device.
peer-to-peer (P2P): A network where two or more computers are connected to share resources without going through a separate server computer.
peg: See angle above.
periodical: See magazine.
Periodical Publishers Association (PPA): An organisation representing British magazine publishers.
permalink: a URL that is intended to remain unchanged for many years into the future, providing a more permanent hyperlink that is less likely to suffer from link rot. Permalinks are often rendered simply, to be easy for people to type and remember.
phone-in: A type of radio program which invites listeners to telephone with information or comments for broadcast. See also talkback.
phono: See two-way below.
photomontage: An illustration made by combining several related photographs.
Photoshop: A popular computer program used to edit and organise photographs. Photoshopping a photo usually involves more significant changes – even falsification – than retouching.
pic: Short for photograph.
pica: A unit of measurement for type, approximately 4.23 mm. It is divided into 12 points.
picture desk: An area of a newsroom where photographs are gathered and edited.
picture feeds: Video provided by news agencies that media organisations, pay to use.
pilot: A trial episode of a proposed television series, to see whether there is audience demand for a full series.
pitch: A reporter’s idea for a story as presented in outline to an editor.
Pitman: A system of shorthand mainly used in Britain and associated countries. It is regarded as able to achieve faster speeds than systems such as Teeline but is more complex to learn.
pixel: A pixel is the smallest individual element that can be programmed when creating a digital image. The resolution or quality of a digital screen image is determined by how many pixels there are in a specified area, often expressed as horizontal and vertical dimensions.
plagiarism: To use the work of another person as if it was one’s own, without attribution. It is unethical.
platform: a specific electronic technology for delivering content to audiences. Originally used to distinguish between different computer systems, platforms generally include audio (radio, podcasts etc), video (television, film, videostreaming), text (usually on websites, electronic billboards or public display screens), mobile devices (such as smart phones, GPS navigators etc).
PNG: A graphics file format designed for transferring images via the internet with minimal loss of quality through compression. See also GIF and JPEG.
podcasts: Digital audio files available on a broadcaster’s website for download by listeners using special software.
point: The smallest unit of measuring type fonts and other items on a printed page. A modern standard point is 1/72nd of an inch or 0.35 of a mm. There are 12 points in a pica. See also desktop publishing point (DTP).
pool: An arrangement where reporters from different media outlets designate individuals to gather and then share information where access is limited or restricted.
popping: Unwanted small explosive sounds caused by a speaker being too close to a microphone when saying words with strong ‘p’, ‘t’, ‘d’ or ‘b’ sounds.
post: To put something on a website.
pork: Mainly US, material gathered by a journalist but held for later use if required.
podcast: Audio or video files that can be regularly or automatically downloaded from the website of their producer onto the computers of people who subscribe to receive them. Podcasting is an especially popular method of making radio and television programs available online after they have been broadcast, though some programs are now only produced for download. Once downloaded onto a computer, podcasts can be transferred to portable devices such as the Apple iPod or similar MP3 players. Video podcasts are often called vodcasts.
point of view (POV): (1) An event filmed as if through the eyes of a participant. (2) A form of documentary told from the producer’s perspective, without adhering to journalistic standards of impartiality.
pointer: Text at the end of an article indicating where in the newspaper or magazine the reader can find related articles.
pop-up: An internet advert that pops up on screen. When unwanted, these can be blocked with a small program called a ‘pop-up blocker’.
Portable digital device: A small electronic device that can be carried around and does not require mains power via a cable. They include smart phones, tablets, flash memory devices (e.g. USB flash drives, personal media players), portable hard disks, and laptop/notebook/netbook computers. Also called a portable electronic device (PED).
portal: A web page through which visitors are encouraged to enter the main website for more pages and services.
portrait: A rectangular page format that is taller than it is wide. See also landscape.
post: A single item added to a website, blog, forum or social media page, such as a Facebook status update.
PostScript point: A unit of measuring fonts. See desktop publishing point.
POV: See point of view above.
PR: Short for public relations, a field where journalists are employed to make their employers look good or to cover up embarrassing news about them.
pre-roll: In broadcasting, to start recorded material such as a tape or piece of music before the sound or vision is turned on, to assist with timing.
presenter: A person who presents a radio or television program on air. Called an anchor in US.
press: A printing machine.
Press: The collective name for newspapers and magazines. In some uses it can also include broadcasting and other media, e.g. press freedom.
Press Association: Now known as PA Media, see above.
press conference: See media conference.
press freedom: The right for media to operate free from government restrictions and without legal constraints, other than the normal rules and laws of society. Press or media freedom may be established by historical practice or guaranteed by special laws, such as the First Amendment to the Constitution of the USA or a bill of rights.
press officer: See media officer.
press release: See media release.
press room: The large room or building housing the printing machines (presses) for a newspaper or magazine. Also called a ‘print room’.
press run: The printing of an edition of a newspaper or magazine. Also the number of copies printed. Also called a print run.
Press Trust of India (PTI): The largest news agency in India, run as a not-for-profit cooperative providing and exchanging news in English and Hindi among more than 450 newspapers. It also provides a satellite news service.
print room: See press room.
producer: In broadcast journalism, the person responsible for a particular episode of a news program, a specific documentary or a single segment of a multi-report current affairs program. They usually report upwards to an executive producer.
production editor: A senior journalist responsible for making sure content in a newspaper or magazine is printed properly. Usually works in a press room or print room during the press run where he or she is able to make last-minute changes.
profile: An article or program concentrating on an individual or organisation in the news.
promo: See trail below.
pron.: Abbreviation of “pronounced”, followed by a phonetic version of a word that is difficult or confusing to pronounce. For example, towns named Warwick are pronounced “WORR-ick” in England and Australia, but “WAR-wick” in Rhode Island, USA. The stress is on the syllable in capital letters. When used in scripts, the information is usually enclosed in brackets, e.g. Warwick (Pron. WORR-ick).
proof: A copy of a page which has been typeset ready for printing, provided to editors, sub-editors or proof readers to correct errors or make final changes before the printing presses start production.
proof reader: A person who checks typeset proofs and/or computer printouts to detect errors before the final printing of a publication. Also called a copy reader.
propaganda: Information presented intentionally to influence a mass audience to support or oppose something. Propaganda is usually motivated by self interest and can range from being selective in what it chooses to highlight or ignore to actively lying about events and issues. Not to be confused with advocacy journalism.
prospects: A list of possible stories for coverage.
public affairs: Part of an organisation dedicated to improving relationships with its public, often through the media. Some public affairs departments also monitor public opinion of it. See also media officer.
public broadcasting: Radio or television services funded through government by taxpayers or a user licence fee. Compare with commercial broadcasting.
public interest: Something which is done for the well-being or benefit of the general public or society. Many activities journalists undertake would be ethically dubious if they were not motivated by public interest. See Chapter 62: Privacy and public interest.
public service media (PSM): Radio, television and other media whose primary mission is public service. Sometimes called public-sector media. PSM usually receive their funding from government budgets, licence fees or public subscriptions, although some accept commercial advertising and/or sponsorship. Many are established to be editorially independent of government, though some – usually called state media – are government controlled.
publish: To make something available to an audience, usually in a printed or pictorial form, although material on the internet is said to be published.
puff box: A newspaper’s own advertisements at the top of the front page promoting articles inside or in future issues.
puff piece: A news story or feature written to make the subject seem good.
Pulitzer Prizes: America’s highest literary and journalism awards, administered by Columbia University.
pull: To remove a story late in the publication process, after it is written but before being broadcast or printed in an edition.
pull journalism or marketing: To publish or broadcast content such as story, a teaser or an advertisement in order to attract your readers or listeners to visit your newspaper, broadcast or website to learn more. See the alternative push journalism or marketing.
pulldown: Web content that is activated by clicking a down arrow on a web page menu.
pullout: Printed material inserted in a newspaper or magazine that can be pulled out and read separately.
pull-out quote or pull quote: A specially powerful or significant quote or excerpt from a story, highlighted in a different typeface next to the main text or in gaps within a column. Also called a sell, lift-out quote or call-out.
push journalism or marketing: To publish a story or an advertisement in such a way as to make your audience take notice of the story or with sufficient information to buy the product or service. This might involve specific strategies such as targeted campaigns, give-aways and promotions in addition to the story or advert itself. See the alternative pull journalism or marketing.
put to bed: When journalists have finished their work on preparing a newspaper and it is sent to the presses for printing.
Q & A: (1) A conversation or interview printed verbatim in question and answer form. (2) In broadcasting, questions and answers between a studio presenter and someone in another location, either an interviewee or a reporter in the field.
quotation marks: Marks in a text to show the start and the end of a quote. Usually either single (‘) or double (“) inverted commas, depending on house style. Sometimes called speech marks. [See Chapter 8: Quotes]
quote: (1) The use in a printed story or on television of the exact words spoken by a person, distinguished by quotation marks at the start and finish. (2) Short for quotation marks. Compare with reported speech.
radio mic: A microphone which uses radio waves instead of cables to transmit signals to a receiver.
radio spectrum: That part of the electromagnetic spectrum used for carrying radio (and television) signals, ranging from 3 kHz to 300 GHz.
radiothon: (alt. radioathon) Special radio programming in which listeners are asked to telephone the station to make donations to a good cause or charity appeal. Typically, whole programs are dedicated to this single function and the names of people who pledge money are read out on air. On television, these are called telethons.
ragged: See unjustified text.
ragout: (Pron. rag-out.) A section of text or an illustration that has been made to look as if it has been torn from somewhere, with ragged edges.
raised cap: See drop cap.
rate card: A published list of a media organisation’s standard rates for advertising, including deadlines and specifications.
ratings: See audience ratings.
raw: In broadcast journalism, material before it has been processed, especially edited. (1) Raw footage is the original sound and vision of a television report before being edited or additional sounds, captions etc are added. (2) Raw feed is this footage transmitted from location to the base studio or to other television stations, where it will be processed.
reach: In advertising and audience research, reach is a measure of the potential size of an audience. It is not a measure of the actual number of people watching, listening or reading a program, publication or website. See also audience ratings.
readability: The ease with which a reader can recognize words, sentences, and paragraphs. In print it depends on factors such as typeface, font size and page layout. On TV screens issues such as contrast and the placement and duration of text can also be critical.
reader: (1) Someone who reads a newspaper or magazine. This can apply to both print and online versions, although online they are often also called visitors or viewers. (2) A person employed by a printer to check for errors in proofs, before the newspaper or magazine is actually printed. Also called proof readers or copy readers.
recto: The right-hand page of a newspaper or magazine. Compare with verso.
redletter: An important breaking news story. From the newspaper practice of highlighting an exclusive, breaking news story in red type.
rejig: To restructure a story to make it easier to understand or to change the emphasis of the different elements. Also to move components around a page, web page or bulletin. Compare with re-write, which means to write a new story using information from an old one.
release: A legal document signed by an artist, model or performer allowing a media company to use their images, songs etc on their pages or programs, often for a fee and with restricted conditions of use.
renose or re-nose: To re-write the first paragraphs of a story.
reported speech: A way of reporting what someone has said without using their exact words in a quote. Well-written reported speech allows a journalist to compress and explain a person’s words for greater efficiency and clarity. In grammar, sometimes called indirect speech. Compare with quote.
reporter: A journalist who gathers information – including researching and interviewing people – and writes news stories.
Reporters Without Borders: An international, not-for-profit organisation founded in 1985 that fights for press freedom around the world.
repurpose: To revise existing content for a different delivery format or platform. For example, video footage shot for broadcast may be repurposed for a website.
retainer: A regular fee paid to a non-staff correspondent or freelancer to keep them available. They are then usually paid extra for stories they provide. See also stringer.
retouch: To make minor alterations to parts of a photograph before use, perhaps to hide defects or lighten important areas. Retouching should not be used to falsify photos. See also Photoshop above.
retraction: Withdrawal of story or part of a story after publication, often because a mistake has been made or a legal problem has arisen.
Reuters: One of the world’s oldest international news agencies started in London in 1851. Now part of the Thomson Reuters company.
reverse indent: Another name for a hanging indent.
reversed out: White or light-coloured text printed on a black or darker background.
review: A description of an event with a critical assessment of how well it was done. Reviews are typically written of plays and other theatre performances, concerts and recitals, new recordings, movies, radio and television programs, books, restaurants, exhibitions and other forms of entertainment.
review bombing: An internet campaign of posting multiple negative reviews to undermine a product, service or a person’s reputation.
revision: To improve a story by rewriting, updating or correcting information.
re-write: To write a story again to update, improve or refresh it. See rejig above.
rich media: Digital formats such as Flash, Java and DHTML that allow interactive or multimedia content.
ring round: To make phone calls to a number of people to get or check information or to harvest a variety of opinions on a story.
rolling news or rolling coverage: News that is broadcast on a continuous basis rather than only during specific news bulletins. When providing rolling coverage of an event, news is updated whenever it is available and broadcast immediately.
round: A reporter’s specialist area of coverage, such as ‘a police round’. Reporters develop personal contacts in these areas who can give them information. Often called a ‘beat’ in the US or a ‘patch’ in the UK.
round-up: A collection of short stories or summary of information about an event or a day. See also news in brief (NIB).
royalties: Money paid to someone for using their work.
RSS: Rich Site Summary (also called Really Simple Syndication) are formats for delivering regularly updated web content provided by news sites, blogs, audio, video and other online publishers. Users subscribe to feeds which the RSS reader on their computer or mobile device checks regularly for new material to download. See also podcast.
rules: In print, black lines used to separate one element from another on a newspaper or magazine page.
run: (1) To publish or broadcast a story. (2) The number of copies printed. See press run above.
rundown: A list of stories for a news bulletin. (1) A television line-up with additional technical information for studio and control room staff. (2) An amended line-up filed after the bulletin including any last-minute changes.
running foot: In print, a short form of the publication’s title and issue date at the bottom (foot) of each page.
running head: In print, a short form of the publication’s title and issue date at the top (head) of each page.
running order: The order in which stories appear in a bulletin or current affairs program, giving titles, times and other information..
running story: News which is reported as it happens while events unfold. See also breaking news.
run on: To continue text onto a new column or a story onto another page.
run to time: A program or segment which is the correct length to fit into its time slot. A program or report which is too long is said to overrun, while one that is too short underruns.
rush: The second most important alert issued by a news agency about a breaking story or new information. Flash is the most urgent alert.
rushes: Early edited version of video or film that needs further editing.
sans serif: A design of print type such as Ariel without small extensions at the ends or corners of letters. See typeface below.
satellite television: Television services delivered through satellites, received on the ground by satellite dishes and decoders. Compare with terrestrial television and cable TV. In some countries, limited radio services are also delivered via satellite.
scale: To prepare a photo or illustration for printing or inserting into a web page to fit a space.
scare quotes: A word or short phrase put between quotation marks when they are not necessary, usually just for emphasis or to suggest disbelief, e.g. “global warming”.
schedule: (1) A list of jobs for a reporter. (2) The order and timing in which a newspaper or magazine is printed.
scoop: An important or significant news story published or broadcast before other competing media know of it.
Scoopt: A media agency created to help members of the public sell photographs and videos of newsworthy events to the media.
scraping: See web scraping.
screamer: Printing slang for an exclamation mark, especially in a sensational headline.
screenshot, screencap or screen grab: A digital image of what is visible at that moment on a monitor, television or other device screen.
scrum: A gathering of reporters around a person, all competing to ask questions or take photographs. Compare with a media conference.
search engine: computer software which enables a user to search for information on the internet. Popular search engines include Google, Bing, Baidu and Yahoo!
search engine optimization (SEO): Techniques and software for improving how a website ranks on search engines.
section: (1) A separate folded part of a newspaper, e.g. the motoring section. (2) In magazine publishing, a large sheet of paper – or section of a roll of paper – on which a number of different pages are printed before being cut up, folded and bound together.
segue: (Pronounced SEG-way) In broadcasting, a transition from one topic to another using a word, idea or theme common to both.
segment: Part of a larger radio or televisoon program that is self-contained, often produced by a reporter or producer other than the main program presenter.
selfie: A self-portrait photograph, usually taken with a smartphone or similar portable device and then shared on social media.
sell: (1) A standfirst. (2) A pull-out quote.
sensationalise: See beat-up.
series: A group of related stories or features on a single topic, generally run in successive or regular editions of a newspaper, magazine or program.
serif: A design of print type such as Times Roman with small extensions (serifs) at the ends or corners of letters. See typeface below.
server: A central computer or program providing services such as website hosting to other computers or devices called clients.
set and hold: When a story or page is set into type for printing but held back for use later.
set left or set right: See unjustified text.
share: See audience share.
shoot: A pre-arranged or scheduled assignment to take pictures or ‘shoot’ film.
shorthand: A writing system which uses short strokes or special symbols to represent letters or words to make note-taking much faster. The most common systems in English are Pitman, Gregg and Teeline.
shotlist: In television and film, a list of ‘shots’ or sections of film for planning purposes or for editing.
shy: When a headline does not stretch all the way across the space allocated.
sibilance: Distortion of sounds caused by a person being too close to a microphone when saying words with strong ‘s’, ‘z’, ‘sh’, ‘ch’ or ‘zh’ sounds.
sic: Latin for ‘thus’ or ‘so’, is usually written in square brackets as [sic] after an misused or misspelled word or phrase to show they have been reproduced exactly as spoken or written in the original, e.g. He said: ‘She gone [sic] to see her mother.’
sidebar: A column beside a main story which has more information about – or another angle to – the main story to which it is attached. Sidebars are often boxed with black lines.
signature block: See tagline (2).
sign-off: In broadcasting, the reporter or presenter’s goodbye at the end of a report or bulletin, often their name and – in – reports from the field – location. In print, the name of the journalist at the end of the story.
silly season: In journalism, a period when newsrooms cover less important, sometimes “silly” stories because there is not much hard news happening or reporting staff are on seasonal or national holidays.
simulcast: To broadcast the same program at the same time (simultaneously) on different channels or platforms.
single column centimetre (SCCM): See column centimetre.
sketch: A light-hearted report of events such as parliamentary sessions or debates.
skyline: A panel on the front page of a newspaper, magazine or website informing readers what else is inside.
Skype: A popular free internet telephone and videoconferencing program.
slander: An older term for the spoken form of defamation. Compare with libel.
slip:A piece of paper or leaflet inserted into a newspaper, magazine or book for a special purpose, for example to publicise a local event.
slotman: Outdated US term for a senior or chief copy editor who sat in the “slot” at the centre of the copy editors’ table.
slug: A key word or phrase that identifies a news story while it is being prepared. Also a word or phrase at the end of a website URL (address) making it easier to search for and find.
smartphone: A portable device that combines mobile telephone and computing functions into one unit, with large screens able to display text and pictures and with accessories such as still and video cameras, voice recorders and location finders.
snap: A short message from a news agency alerting subscribers to an event about which they will shortly provide more detailed coverage. See also flash.
social media: Web-based tools (i.e. computer programs) that people use to create and share information, opinions and experiences with other users. Originally used by people to keep in touch with family and friends, social media are now also used by print, broadcast and online media and journalists as quick, unstructured tools for communicating.
social networking: The use of online platforms to build social networks or social relations with other people who share similar personal or career interests, activities, backgrounds or real-life connections.
soft copy: Words or pictures which exist in computerised form as data. Compare with hard copy, where they are printed on paper
soft news: Stories about topics which are interesting and new but which have little or no material effect on people’s lives. Soft news focuses on interesting individuals rather than on major events or developments which impact on lots of people. Compare with hard news.
sound bite: A short segment of someone speaking, usually the most significant or interesting part of what they said.
sound effects: See effects.
sound on tape (SOT): Sound on a recorded television report, identified as such so a presenter knows when it will start so they do not talk over it.
source: (1) Where information comes from, usually a person who gives a journalist information. (2) In live television, the signal from a camera.
spadea or spadia: A half sheet of advertising folded round a newspaper or magazine so the outer halves of the front and back pages are still visible.
spam: Unwanted and unasked for email or social media messages promoting a product or service. See also junk mail.
spike: To not publish a submitted article. Derived from a metal spike on which such rejected stories were impaled. See also to kill.
spill: The continuation of a story from one page to another. Called a jump in US.
spill line: Text at the bottom of an incomplete article on one page stating where the story is continued (‘spilled’) later in the newspaper or magazine, e.g. ‘Continued on page 12’.
spin: Putting a positive slant on something bad or emphasising only the positive aspects while ignoring the negatives. Compare with balance.
splash: An exciting front page story given prominence so people will take notice of it. See also lead (1).
spoiler: (1) A story published or broadcast to reduce (spoil) the impact of a rival’s exclusive report. (2) To reveal the outcome of story that the author wanted to keep secret till the end to increase tension, such as an important plot line of a book or drama.
spread: Two facing pages in a newspaper or magazine that are designed as one unit of interrelated articles.
square brackets: Also called ‘box brackets’. Used in quotes to denote the words between them have been modified from or added to the original, usually for greater clarity, e.g. The Prime Minister said: ‘We will not tolerate weapons [from Russia] to cross our borders.’
stab: A short pre-recorded sound inserted into a program or bulletin to create a pause or provide a break between different segments. See also sting below.
standalone: An eyecatching photo, usually on a front page, used to attract readers to read further in the newspaper or magazine. Standalones on websites are usually clickable so readers who click on them are taken directly to the related story or photo gallery.
standby: (1) A program, segment or item held in reserve in case any scheduled items cannot be broadcast for any reason. (2) An instruction in a studio or outside broadcast for everyone to prepare to start a live program or recording.
standfirst: A short section of text between a headline and the text that follows. Often in a different type size to the body type, it gives a brief summary of the article that follows. Called a kicker (2) in the US
stand-up: a reporter’s appearance in a TV news story. Usually a head and shoulders shot which features the reporter talking into the camera at the scene of the news event, often used as a transition, or at the beginning or ending.
state media: Media for mass communication that are wholly controlled by the state. Compare with public service media.
station format: Usually applies to the mix of talk and music presented by a radio station. Some stations have a mainly news and current affairs format, others may have a mainly music format or a news/talk format. It can also describe other factors such as local content, sports coverage, talkback etc.
station ID (identification): Pre-recorded music and/or words used to identify an individual radio or television station. IDs are usually composed around specific melodies, themes or slogans and made available to presenters in a variety of styles and lengths to suit different purposes in programming. A station ident may contain the station’s name and frequency, often accompanied by a musical jingle. Program idents give the program title and/or the presenter’s name.
stet: Latin for ‘let it stand’, a mark – the word ‘stet’ in a circle – used by sub-editors and proof readers telling the typesetter to disregard a change that had been previously marked. The relevant words are identified by underlining them with a dotted line.
still: A photograph or graphic used in television, not a moving picture.
sting: A short piece of music (from 5 to 30 seconds) played in program breaks or to add drama. Stings are either dramatic music or based on station identification melodies. A musical form of a stab.
stock footage: Shots of common events held in a newsroom’s video library and used to illustrate parts of television stories, e.g. footage of machines printing or counting money to illustrate an economics story. Also called file footage.
stop press: In newspapers, the latest available news just in. From a time when printing presses were stopped to put in urgent breaking news before continuing the print run. Papers often had Stop Press boxes in a corner of the front or back page where brief urgent stories could be inserted.
story arc: Sometimes called a narrative arc, it is the way a news feature or documentary progresses, how it starts, develops, changes and ends. It describes the rises and falls in tone, pace and drama to keep the reader, viewer or listener interested to the end.
storyboard: A sequence of drawings or diagrams used in planning movies or longer television reports, showing approximately how the shots will appear.
straight news: A straightforward account of factual news with little or no comment or analysis.
strapline: (1) In print and online, a kind of subhead or standfirst immediately following a larger headline. (2) In advertising, a slogan attached to a product brand name, e.g. ‘Heineken: Refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach’. In US called a tagline.
streamer: See banner.
streaming: Watching or listening to a video or audio file as it is being played from the source site, rather than waiting until it is downloaded and then opened.
stringer: A regular contributor to a newspaper or broadcaster who is not a member of staff. Stringers are often paid by the length of stories they provide.
style: A consistent way of presenting information. See house style.
style guide: A document or online set of rules on how language is used in a particular organisation. See also house style.
sub: (1) Short for ‘sub-editor’ below. (2) The process of sub-editing copy for inclusion in a newspaper, magazine or news bulletin.
sub-editor: Journalists who checks and edit a reporters’ work, format stories for the page, add headlines or plan the page layout. See also copy editor.
subhead: (1) A small headline below the main headline. (2) A small headline inserted in the body of a story to visually break up a long column of type.
sub judice: A legal term meaning ‘under judgment’ to describe matters actively being dealt with by the legal system. In many countries there are restrictions on what the media can report during sub judice periods.
subscription radio: A radio service only available by paying a fee and usually transmitted by cable or wirelessly in a code which can only be decoded by special paid-for radio receivers.
subtitles: A text version of the words spoken in a television program or movie, displayed at the bottom of the screen as the relevant words are spoken. Mainly used as a way of presenting dialogue from a foreign language as text in the language of broadcast. Subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing are called closed captions.
super: Graphics – usually words – superimposed over a television image giving details about it, such as a person’s name or where they are.
syndicate: (Verb) To simultaneously sell or otherwise provide a journalist or photographer’s work to other newspapers, magazines or broadcasters who subscribe to that service.
syntax: The rules by which words in a language are put together in relation to each other to make sentences.
tabloid: A small, compact format newspaper, usually less than 43 cm (17 inches) long. Also used to describe a newspaper style that uses short, simply-written stories and headlines with lots of pictures to illustrate more sensational content. Compare with broadsheet.
tag: a term or keyword assigned to a piece of information – such as an internet bookmark, digital image, database record or computer file – which helps to describe an item and allows it to be found again by browsing or searching.
tagline: (1) Contact information for an article’s author, published to enable readers to provide feedback. (2) Also called a signature line, information about the author appended to the bottom of an email or blog. (3) In US advertising, a word or phrase invented by marketers to help identify a specific brand, e.g. the tagline for the movie Jaws was ‘Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water’. See also strapline.
tailpiece or tail-piece: A surprising or humorous observation at the end of a story or bulletin, associated with the story or bulletin but standing apart from it because of its subject matter or tone. Also called a kicker (see definition 4). In printing, an illustration at the end of a chapter.
talent: A person who performs on-air or someone invited to be interviewed on radio or television.
talkback: (1) A type of radio program in which the presenter invites listeners to telephone in and speak on air. (2) Two-way intercom equipment by which a radio or television presenter or newsreader in a studio can communicate with producers or directors in a control room. (3) An Australian name for talk radio.
talk radio: A radio station whose main format is speech-based programming, not music-based. Talk radio is usually more information oriented, often with news and current affairs services and talkback programs.
tape library: A radio or television station’s archive of recorded audio and video tapes. Once holding mainly magnetic tape, increasingly newsroom archives are hold sound recordings and television footage within computer systems.
taster: See copy taster above.
tear sheet: A page cut or torn from a newspaper to show someone – such as an advertiser – that a story of picture was used.
tease: Material promoting a story which ‘teases’ the reader or listener by hinting at but not revealing the real story, e.g. ‘The story of a man who’s afraid of flowers. We find out why later in the program.’
teaser: A short audio or video segment produced to advertise an upcoming news bulletin or news items.
technobabble:- Confusing technical jargon.
Teeline: A simplified system of shorthand used by journalists in Britain and associated countries. It is regarded as easier to learn than Pitman or Gregg, but harder to achieve high note-making speeds with.
teleprompter: See autocue above.
Teletext: A news and information text service offered through television sets, accessed through interactive menus on screen.
telethon: See radiothon.
terrestrial television: Television transmitted from local towers to the home over radio waves. Compare with satellite television and cable TV.
testimonial: A statement saying positive things about a product, often by a celebrity or respected client.
think piece: An article, column or commentary written to provoke thought about an issue already in the news.
thirty: The number “30” was once typed at the end of copy in the United States to signify the end of the article. It is seldom used today, the word “end” or “###” now being preferred.
thread: a series of internet posts on a single topic.
throw: Where one person on-air passes (‘throws’) the task of presentation to someone else, e.g. ‘And now we go to our reporter at the scene …’
thumbnail: A half-column picture in newspapers or a reduced size picture on a web page which, when clicked on, brings up the full sized picture or illustration.
tie in: (1) To explain how a current story can be seen in the context of past events. Also known as a tie back. (2) A story linked to one next to it on the page or in a program. (3) In commercial media, adverts linked to other adverts or products linked to stories, programs or movies.
time check: A announcement on air of the time.
timestamp: digital information about the date and time that an event was recorded, such as when the file was created or modified, the photo taken or the message was posted to a social network.
tip or tip-off: Information given to a reporter about a possible story.
titles: Text which appears on screen at the beginning – and sometimes the end – of a television program or movie, usually with music in the background. Credits are titles which list the names and jobs of the people involved in the production.
TK: Short for ‘to come’, a sub-editor’s mark in text that additional material will be inserted there later, before production and printing. Occasionally written as ‘TKTK’ so it will not be missed.
tool: See digital tool.
top head: (1) Headline at the top of a column of text. (2) A banner headline on a website.
topic: The subject matter a journalist chooses to write about. Compare to ‘issue’, which is the topic presented as a problem or a matter in dispute.
trackback: A method of linking two websites, usually to tell one website (or blog) when another website (or blog) links to it. Pingbacks are automatic trackbacks.
trail or trailer: In broadcasting, a short segment promoting an item coming later in the program. Also called a promo.
transcript: A word-for-word written version of an interview or other spoken segment. Increasingly transcripts are posted online.
transition: In news reporting, a way of moving smoothly from one story or section of a story to another.
treatment: In broadcast journalism, a treatment is a statement of what your feature or documentary is about and a step-by-step plan of what you will do and the things you need. It is usually written down but can change as production proceeds.
trend: An indicator that a topic is popular on social media at a given moment. It is said to be “trending”.
troll: A social media user who writes deliberately offensive or annoying posts with the aim of provoking another user or group of users.
Trust Chain: A method used by journalists to ensure that every stage in reporting, producing and distributing news about an event or issue is accurate and reliable from beginning to end. Not to be confused with “Chain of Trust”, a computing system to ensure security of data.
turn: Part of a story continued on another page.
tweet: A Twitter message that can contain up to 140 characters of text, as well as photos, videos and other forms of media. Tweets are usually public.
Twitter: A social network and media platform that provides a forum for real-time discussions on events or breaking news through users posting tweets.
two-shot: In television, a camera angle which includes two people on the screen, usually an interview guest and the interviewer.
two-way: An interview conducted by a presenter in the studio with a correspondent in the field. In television they are also called phonos.
type: Letters, numbers and other characters assembled into pages or screens for printing or other means of reproduction.
typeface: In printing, a set of letters, numbers and punctuation marks designed in one particular style. The typeface of this glossary is Ariel, a sans serif font.The typeface of this sentence is Times New Roman, a serif font.
typesetter: In the days before desktop publishing, the person who turned a journalist’s work into metal type for printing. Often called a compositor.
typo: An error in typing a story.
Ulc (or U/lc or U&lc): Abbreviation for words and phrases that contain a mixture of upper case and lower case characters, such as names or titles, e.g. Republic of Indonesia.
underrun: A program or report which is not long enough to fill its allotted slot on the schedule. See also run to time.
underscore: To underline.
unidirectional mic: A microphone which picks up sound from only one direction. Compare with omnidirectional and bidirectional microphones.
unique users: The number of individual, separate users who visit a website.
unjustified: Text in columns where the individual lines do not all align to the same left or right margin. Also called ragged. Unjustified text which aligns with the left margin but not with the right margin is said to be set left, flush left or ragged right. Text which aligns with the right margin but not the left is said to be set right, flush right or ragged left.
unpublish: To remove from a website, blog or social media feed an article or comment that has already been published. See Chapter 57.
UPI: United Press International news agency, launched in the USA in 1907.
upload: See download.
upper case: Capital letters. Abbreviated to u.c. or caps.
URL (Uniform Resource Locator): The address of a resource on the internet, such as a web page or internet site. World Wide Web URLs begin with http://.
user-generated content: Websites where most of the content is sent in by its users in the form of articles, comments, video, photographs etc.
user Interface (UI): The part of a software application or website that users see and interact with.
verbatim: The actual words used by a speaker.
verso: The left-hand page of a newspaper or magazine. Compare with recto.
video: Moving pictures. The term was originally used for recordings made using electronic signals on videotape. However, video now covers most kinds of moving images except those printed on traditional celluloid film.
video blogger or vlogger: A blogger who publishes video on the internet.
video journalist (VJ): (1) A reporter who also does his or her own video recording in the field. (2) A journalist who publishes reports illustrated by video on the internet.
video on demand (VOD): A system where users can watch to video content any time anywhere they want via a website or mobile app, without having to download it first.
vignette: An illustration where the edges fae away into nothing.
viral: (describing content) to spread rapidly and widely from one person to many in an ever-widening circle, especially using the internet and social media.
viral marketing: To use social media to spread advertising messages by creating excitement among targeted audiences.
viral video: A video clip that gains widespread popularity through the process of internet sharing, typically through email, messaging, blogs and media sharing websites.
visits: A measure of the number of people visiting a website. Compare with page views and hits.
vlog: An online blog that uses video for presenting all or part of a story.
vodcast: To podcast videos.
voice-over (VO): In television, a technique in which a reporter or narrator speaks while vision is being shown on screen. See also out of vision. In radio, speaking or recording one voice on top of another voice that has been reduced in volume. This is used when a translation is needed from the original language into the language of broadcast. Sometimes called over-dubbing.
voicer or voice report: An audio report from a radio reporter, often from the scene of an event.
voir dire: Legal arguments made in a jury’s absence in a trial. Roughly translated as “to see what can be said”, such proceedings are used for the judge and lawyers involved in a case to discuss whether a jury can or cannot hear a specific witness or piece of evidence. As they are not part of the actual case, in most jurisdictions journalists should not report on voir dire proceedings while the trial is taking place.
vox pop: From the Latin vox populi ‘voice of the people’, short interviews where several members of the public are stopped at random and asked questions to gauge approximate public opinion about an issue. Also called streeters.
VU meter: An instrument showing how ‘loud’ a sound from a microphone or recording is. Stands for ‘volume unit’.
WAV: A format for recording, storing and playing digital audio files. WAV files are usually not compressed and therefore retain quality, though they are therefore larger files than compressed digital audio formats such as MPEG/MP3.
weasel words: Words or phrases used to hide or justify something bad the speaker is ashamed to have exposed. Also called doublespeak.
Web 2.0: Technologies which, as a group, are one stage advanced from the early internet tools and platforms. They include social media and networks, blogs, microblogs, podcasts and vodcasts, amongst others.
Web 3.0: The next stage in the development of internet-based technologies in which computers make more decisions of their own. As well as current Web 2.0 tools and platforms, Web 3.0 is expected to include more artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things.
web browser: See browser.
web scraping: Software which trawls websites for content it can copy to its own site.
webcast: A broadcast delivered over the internet, usually live. Participants can view and hear streaming media, and may be able to take part in real-time online chats.
webinar: A seminar, lecture or presentation delivered over the internet to remote audiences.
weight: The thickness or boldness of letters in a typeface.
white space: Areas of a newspaper, magazine or web page where there is no text, illustrations, colour or furniture. White space is not wasted space if it makes readers focus more on what is in the centre of it.
widget: A piece of software that appears as an image or symbol on a website or computer screen to perform a single, specific function when pressed or clicked by a user.
widow: The final, short line of a paragraph which has become separated from the paragraph in the previous column and therefore appears at the top of the next column. See also orphan above.
wi-fi: Wireless internet or network connection.
wiki: A type of public access website that allows readers to edit and contribute content directly as part of a collaborative process, building information and knowledge.
wild sound: See natural sound above.
windshield: A foam cover protecting a microphone from wind noise. It also helps to reduce popping. Also called a windsock.
wires: Stories or photographs provided by wire services for journalists to use in reporting or compiling news for publication or broadcast. Media organisations typically subscribe to wire services for an annual fee.
wob: White text on a black or dark coloured background. Also known as reversed out.
WordPress: A free website building and blogging software system.
wrap: (1) In broadcasting, a summary of an evolving issue or the events of a day, often drawing on material in reports which have already gone to air or (2) a collection of news in brief NIBs. (3) In filming, a phrase used by the director to tell talent and crew that filming of a particular scene, report, program, film, etc. has finished, e.g. “It’s a wrap.”
wrap-up questions: The final questions in an interview, in which the interviewer clarifies any outstanding issues and checks they have not missed anything, e.g. ‘Is there anything else you can tell me about the crash?’
write-off story: A short, front-page version of a story which is repeated in full with more details inside the newspaper.
WWWWW & H: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? The six most important questions journalists should ask and news stories should answer.
WYSIWYG: An acronym for “What You See is What You Get”, referring to a system in which the view of the web page or file in the editing phase appears very similar to what the final product will look like. This allows users to format content without specific knowledge of the underlying software code or computer digital language.
x-height: The height of lower-case letters of a typeface such as “x”, excluding ascenders and descenders, such as “d” and “p”.
yellow journalism: An old-fashioned US term for sensational journalism.