Glossary of Newspaper Jargon


Assignment - A story a reporter is given to cover.
Beat - A type of news, such as education or government, that a reporter regularly covers.
Byline - Name of a writer at the head of a story.
Circulation - The total number of copies of the newspaper delivered in one day.
Copy - All material for publication, whether written stories or pictures.
Copy editor - A newspaper worker who corrects or edits copy written by a reporter and writes headlines.
Cut - To shorten newspaper copy; also means a newspaper photograph.
Cutline - The descriptive information below a picture.
Dateline - The line at the beginning of a story giving the place of the reported incident.
Deadline - Time at which all copy for an edition must be in.
Dummy - A diagram or layout of a newspaper page, showing the placement of stories, headlines, pictures and advertisements
Edition - The issue for one press run.
Editorial - An expression of opinion by the newspaper's editors, usually reflecting the opinion of the publisher or owner of the newspaper.
Feature - A story in which the interest lies in some factor other than the news value.
Five W's - Who, what, when, where and why (sometimes "H" for how), the major questions answered in the lead of a well-written news story.
Headline - An explanatory title over a newspaper article summarizing the main point for the reader.
Inverted pyramid - A method of writing by placing parts of the story in descending order of importance.
Jump - To continue a story from one page to another.
Lead - The first few sentences or the first paragraph of a news story, containing the summary or the introduction to the story.
Libel - Publication of material unjustly injurious to someone's reputation.
Managing editor - The editor who directs the daily gathering, writing and editing of news and the placement of news in the paper.
Masthead - The matter printed in every issue of a newspaper or journal, stating the title, ownership, management, subscription, and advertising rates.
Op-ed page - Means "opposite the editorial page." The Post uses this page to print reader opinions, columnists and other non-news features.
Publisher - The chief executive and often the owner of a newspaper.
Review - An account of an artistic event that offers a critical evaluation, the opinion of the writer.
Rewrite - (1) Write a story again to improve it, (2) alter a story that appeared somewhere else; (3) or write a story from facts called in by a reporter.
Syndicated features - Material such as comics, advice columns, etc., supplied nationally to newspapers by news syndicates.
Typo - Short for "typographical error," a mistake made during the production of a story.
Wire services - News-gathering agencies such as Associated Press which gather and distribute news to subscribing newspapers.

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