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Journalism lingo - a guide

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by spikechiquet, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    Newspaper folk can talk about "the slot" and "rimming" without batting an eye or giggling like a 12-year-old.
    TV people can ask "How long is your package" in the newsroom without getting slapped with a sexual harassment suit.
    Radio jocks will "pot" something up without getting high.

    How about a "users guide" to journalism lingo...sprinkled in with any stories?

    Honestly, I didn't know what "working the rim" was until I got to my latest paper. We never had enough people in the newsroom to differentiate between slot and rim, you did all of it yourself and I got my degree in broadcasting, so I never learned the newspaper lingo until I started at a newspaper after I got out of TV.
  2. baddecision

    baddecision Member

    We could start with a comparison and contrast between "buyout," "layoff," "severance," "staff reduction" and "CEO bonus."
  3. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    Uh, I've never heard of any of those terms. I'm guessing that a lot of this is largely regional, depending on where you are and what not.
  4. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Not regional, just old school.

    Back in "the day," newspaper copy desks used to be configured into U-shaped things. The "slot" sat on the inside of the U, mapping out the section and parceling duties to the people who sat around him on the outside -- or "the rim" -- of the U. If you're in the slot, you're the production boss. If you're on the rim, you do the slot's bidding.
  5. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    One place I worked had a "lineup" every night...

    Who's pitching? = Who is the slot?
    Who's batting ninth = Who is the agate guy?
    Who is in the bullpen? = Writer who hung around office in case news broke late.

    It sounds silly, but it made things pretty easy to remember...
  6. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    This is exactly why I thought a thread like this would work...I didn't know a lot of the old school terms, but now that I work at an established paper, it's commonplace for me to use them.

    I've always been curious why the words headline (hed) and lead (lede) are spelled differently in newspaper circles.
    Ha, yeah...or in our case we are trying to figure out our new sick time rules. I just call it one week of unpaid vacation before you can get paid again.
  7. doctorx

    doctorx Member

    You forgot "furlough."
  8. UPChip

    UPChip Well-Known Member

    I believe it's because both words have multiple meanings, that is, you could read about a typesetter who must head to the hospital after dumping hot lead from a head and a lead on his head.

    I hate that, though, particularly 'lede.'
  9. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    "Lede" is as old as the hills, for the very reason UPChip mentioned, going back to the time when typesetters used lead to space out the type. Even now, on some page design programs, you can adjust the "leading" -- the space between lines of type -- to make a story longer or shorter.

    The origin of "hed" isn't quite so clear-cut ... it's most likely just a shorter version of the word "head" to refer to the headline.

    Here's one to add to your book of knowledge: The reason is a story is said to be "spiked" when it's killed comes from the days when old or unusable copy was literally impaled upon an editor's desk spike. This was the pre-computer era, back when stories were written on typewriters with long rolls of paper, and sent to the typesetters after the desk edited them by hand with pencils.

    If you want to discover some really cool lingo, talk to someone who used to be a typesetter or a cold-type compositor. They're usually 70 or older, but, yes, they're still alive. Just asking them to talk about the old days can be an education.

    One of my favorites: "pork chop." That's what you crazy kids today call a "head shot."

    Also, that thing at the top of Page 1A ... you know, the thing that displays the newspaper's name and logo. What's that called? Is a "flag"? Or is it the "masthead"? Depends who you ask. The veterans will tell you it's a flag, and the masthead is on the op-ed page, listing the editors. Today, the thing on 1A is just as often called the masthead, and the list of editors is called either a "staff box" or an "ego box."

    Fascinating business, this evolution of language ... even within the language business.
  10. Turtle Wexler

    Turtle Wexler Member

    I believe in magazines, the listing of staff is still referred to as the masthead.
  11. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    That is correct.
  12. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    and "voluntary" and "involuntary separation package."
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