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Press release question

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Flip Wilson, Oct 31, 2007.

  1. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member

    I was talking about press releases in class today, and I mentioned the --30-- mark that is often at the bottom of releases to indicate the end. A student asked, "Why 30?" I had no answer and I can't find the reasoning behind it in any of my PR books or through a Google search.

    Anyone got any ideas?

  2. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    From Wikipedia:

    "-30-" has been used to signify "the end" or "over and out" since the Civil War when telegraphers tapped "XXX" to end transmissions. "XXX" is the Roman numeral for 30. How and when "XXX" transformed into "-30-" in modern printing usage is unclear. This notation is still used to indicate the end of a press release and can frequently be found in formal corporate documents posted on websites and delivered electronically or via print.
  3. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member

    Thanks....I Wiki-ed, but didn't find that.

    A colleague said it was an old printers' mark, which I figured. He said it had to do with leaving 30 points of space at the bottom of a story when typesetting using the hot lead. But that and the Wiki entry both sound reasonable.

    I'll continue looking and see how many theories I find.
  4. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member


    jg is right. The book "From Lead to 30" is the first I was ever given about learning to write for newspapers.
  5. Cansportschick

    Cansportschick Active Member

    This is right because in my first year journalism course, we were given a handout explaining this. Actually, professors gave us this on the first day of classes and we were told that if we did not do this notation for stories we submitted in for marking, we would lose a letter grade.

    How anal is that?
  6. Speedway

    Speedway Member

    I was always told it signified the life expectancy of journalists in the old days when hard living was rampant.
  7. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    It may be anal, but a lot of the stuff that Journalism professors do is to ingrain specific habits -- whether they be minor or important.

    I still use it on press releases.
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