Jargon used in Journalism

Posted on 18 May 2011 by Natasha Tulyani

Certain terms are used in everyday Journalism language. In this article, we list those for you so that when your boss or colleague throws journalism jargon at you, you are not dumbfounded!

1. ABC –  AUDIT BUREAU OF CIRCULATION: There are increasing number of advertisements in newspapers now-a-days. If you are an advertiser you will want your ad to come in the most popular newspaper, one that sells a large number of copies. Because of this some publications lie about their sales to impress the advertisers. Thus, ABC has the responsibility to check the audited circulation number of newspapers and magazines all around India.

2. BY LINE: In the end or beginning of every story the name of the journalist who has written that particular story is mentioned. In the by line, credit is also given to the reporter in the field or if any special / freelance correspondent is involved.

3. CREDIT LINE: Many times with the news article there are pictures attached. Example: when the article is about a minister his picture is printed along with the article or if the news is about garbage at a place then as proof the relevant picture is attached. The credit line will tell you the name of the photographer who has clicked the picture. When graphs are used in articles, the credit line mentions the name of the maker of the graph.

4. CAPTION: Below the photograph there is always a description about the picture or the graph. That statement called  caption.

5. BANNER: Banner is the name given to the headline of the main story on the first page.

6. BINDER: Binder is the headline that is spread across the entire page but not the first page. Mostly it is of the story printed on the second or fourth page.

7. BEAT: aA newspaper has various sections. These sections are called ‘beats’. Example : crime beat, political beat, sports beat etc.

8. BOILED DOWN: It is the summarizing or reducing of the size of the article to meet specific proportions. The person who designs the pages of the paper assigns a certain proportion to every news story.

9. CLEAN COPY: It is the final, edited copy that is ready for publication. It is a copy without errors and is thus called the clean copy.

10. COPY DESK: The place where editor edits the copy is called the copy desk. It is on the copy desk that the headline is finalized and placed.

11. DUMMY:  Dummy is a drawing or designing of the structure of a newspaper. It assigns size and space of advertisements and other news stories.

12. EXCLUSIVE/SCOOP: It is a story that no other newspaper has for that day. Example: sting operations, a research story, etc.

13. FILLER: They are not very necessary news items. They are used to fill spaces in the newspaper. Thus these news items are small in size.

14. LEAD: It is the main paragraph of a story. In this paragraph, the answers to 5Ws and 1H is given. It is the most important paragraph in terms of the details it gives.

15. IMPRINT LINE: It is a statement on the editorial page. It states the details of the newspapers ownership, place of publication, PNI number and editor details. This helps trace the paper. If any one feels that his feelings are insulted in the given news he can file a case against the paper or editor.

16. MORGUE: This is where all the important old news are stored. It is also called the news library.

17. MUST: If this word is used in an article it means that article must be published in the next day’s newspaper.

18. STRINGER: He is a reporter who is not on a regular pay role. Whenever his article is used, he is paid for it.

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