All about the MEDIA!


August 12, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

How to write headlines?

An easy way to remember the functions of the headline is through the acronym HEADS:

H – Heralds the day’s news; tells what is of importance.

E – Entices the reader with essential or interesting facts.

A – Advertises the most important story by size or placement on the page (the most important stories are displayed at the top of the page).

D – Dresses up a page with typography; helps male design attractive.

S – Summarises the story with a “super” lead; tells what the story is about.

The Beginning

You have just delivered a story to your associate editor that is arguably the best you have ever written.

However, the story might vanish into obscurity on any newspaper page if the accompanying headline does not entice or inform the reader.

Well-written headlines grab the reader’s attention, convey clear, concise thoughts, and dress up the publication. Poorly written headlines can mislead, confuse, and even embarrass the newspaper staff. Headlines must be free of libellous statements and must not contain violations of security, accuracy, policy, and propriety.

A reader often decides whether to read a story based on what the headline says. A headline tempts the reader to dig into the story. To do this, you, as a headline writer, must have a sense of what will attract the reader. You must have a broad vocabulary and enough versatility to say the same thing several ways to make sure the headline will fit the space allotted for it on the page.

You can display headlines in several ways. For style variation, your headlines can beset in all-caps, caps and lowercase or downstyle. These methods are covered in the following text.


The all-capital letter headline style is almost extinct. All-caps heads, while they are easier to write than others, are the most difficult to read To test this premise, read the following paragraph:


Even the most patient, attentive and skilled reader will be blinded by the onslaught of all those capital letters. By the way, did you spot the typo?


A widely used headline style is the uppercase and lowercase head In this headline style, all words, other than articles, conjunctions, and prepositions of fewer than four (and sometimes five) letters, are set with the first letter in caps and the others in lowercase.


The down-style head usage has increased in popularity in recent years. In down-style heads, the first letter of the first word – and the first letter of any proper noun – is set as a cap, and all other letters are lowercase. Down-style is presented in the way persons are taught to read and write. The style is visually attractive and enhances the readability of the line. By design, it lacks the numerous capital letters in a headline, which serve as “eye stoppers”.



Vajpayee says no talks with Pak until terror export  stops

The banner head is set the frill-page width at the top of a news page to draw attention to the lead story or that particular page. If you run a banner head above the flag or nameplate, it is called a skyline. A streamer applies to the widest and biggest multi-column head on a page, regardless of whether it is the full width.


Vajpayee says Pak should stop terror export

The crossline head is very similar to a banner headline. Although it does not always span the full width of the page, it does cover all the columns of the story to which it pertains.


No talks till

Pak stops terror

export : Vajpayee

The flush left head is a two- or three-line head with each line set flush left. The lines do not have to be equal in width or set full. The white space at the right is considered enhancing, because it allows “air” into the otherwise stuffy column spaces. Flush left is the most commonly used head today.


India’s warning to Pakistan

The side head is a headline form that runs alongside a story. It is normally three or four lines and looks best when set flush right. A side head is usually placed slightly above the centre of the story.



Musharaff plays the old tune again

Vajpayee says no talks with Pak until terror export stops

The kicker opens the area on a page where the headline is located. It can be used to introduce a feature article with a line above the main head

The following are some basic rules for you to follow when writing kickers:

  • Extract kicker information from the bridge or the body of the story.
  • Do not repeat words in the kicker and main head. Interpretation of the main head should not depend on information in the kicker.
  • Make the kicker 1/2 the point size of the main head. For example, a 36-point main head will have an 18-point kicker.
  • Set the kicker 1/3 to 1/2 the width of the main head. For example, a three-column main head requires a one-column to 1 1/2-column kicker.
  • Alternate type postures to give the head the proper emphasis. For instance, a Roman style main head requires an italic kicker and vice versa.
  • Indent the main head two counts under the kicker. to add white space.
  • Always underline the kicker.


There are countless variations of headline styles, all of which are viewed in terms of their visual impact when used with basic headline styles. Some of these variants are explained in the following text.


The standing head is essentially a label used for regular or recurring content, such as sports and film review columns. It does not change from issue to issue.


The jump head is designed to help the reader find a portion of a story continued from another page. The jump head uses one or two key words from the headline that introduced the story. It is set flush left followed by the words “Continued from Page ##,” usually set in boldface body type (it also can be set in italic).


Headline writing requires skill and concentration. Your headline must give the essence of the story. While explaining the story accurately, your headline also must fit into a limited space.

Some copy editors approach headline writing by looking for a key word or two that expresses the high point of the story. Then they add other words until they have a headline. Other copy editors begin by forming a sentence that contains the essential elements of the story. Then they edit out excess words (adverbs, adjectives, articles, and so forth) and minor details until all that is left is a well-tailored headline that tells the story essentials.

Headlines are written in telegraphic English, a term coined because they closely resemble the wording found in most telegrams. While the consideration in telegrams is mostly monetary, the economical consideration of headlines is space. Therefore, headlines usually contain as the “bare bones” of language – a subject and verb. Other strong uses of telegraphic English might include subject-predicate or subject-verb-object constructions.

A straight news headline is written for a straight news story and a feature headline for a feature story. If the story is a colourful account of some event or trip, the headline should be colourful. If the story is a romantic or dramatic account of an event, the headline should follow form. If it is a human-interest story with an element of pathos, the headline should not be humorous. If the story is humorous, the headline should not be pathetic.


The key to good headline writing is the use, whenever possible, of strong action verbs. Headline writers use verbs in what is sometimes called the ‘historical present’ tense – meaning they use the present tense verb to describe action that has already happened. Primarily, this tense is used to convey a sense of immediacy, in the same way many people normally speak in the present tense to describe exciting experiences to friends. Present tense verbs contain fewer letters than do their past tense forms.

Verbs may be omitted when implied. For example, the verb “appears” is implied in the following headline:

Sunil in final list

However, do not overuse this approach. Action verbs are still best for capturing a reader’s attention. The verbs are and is are frequently understood. It is not necessary to use them except for clarity. The infinitive “to be” is also awkward in headlines and you should avoid using it. Note the following examples:

Poor: New pay raise is approved

Better: New pay raise approved

Do not begin a headline with a verb that might convey the imperative mood (implying a command). Note the examples that follow:

Poor: Reject new pay hike for armed forces

Good: Armed forces pay hike rejected by Congress

Better: Congress rejects new pay hike for armed forces

To give the reader a better sense of immediacy, the verb should be in the first line of a headline whenever possible. When you can avoid it, do not place the verb in the bottom line of a three-line head.


Omit all articles (a, an, the) and other unnecessary words, where possible. Note the following example:

Poor: Today’s submariners are “lucky” says veteran of the USS Grant

Better: Today’s submariners “lucky” says USS Grant veteran


Use the active voice in preference to the passive voice whenever possible. Note the following examples:

Poor: More pilots being sought for T-45 test

Better: Navy seeks more pilots for T-45 test

Poor: Navy flight training bolstered by new T-45

Better: New T-45s bolster Navy flight training


Make each deck (not necessarily each line) a complete construction. Write the headline so it will stand alone and make sense, especially when you use it as the main deck. Consider the following example:

Poor: Decade of off-duty study earns degree at National Law University

Better: Police chief earns law degree after decade of off-duty study

Because headlines are restricted to a small space, copy editors generally limit headlines to one specific idea expressed forcefully, rather than several ideas expressed vaguely. If space permits, editors sometimes connect two independent thoughts by a semicolon in a headline – or add another section to the headline (a second deck) – to include additional important aspects of the story.

If a story involves a plane crash that kills one crew member, injure the pilot and disrupts a training exercise, you should limit the main deck to the death. Subordinate headlines, or the story, should cover the other news.


As with all forms of newswriting, the use of specifics is better than generalities. Note the following headline:

Auto crash proves fatal

This headline does not contain nearly as much information as the headline that follows:

2 die as car hits tree


Another custom most headline writers observe is phrasing headlines in a positive, rather than in a negative manner. This is based on the principle that a newspaper is supposed to tell readers what did happen, not what did not happen.

When writing about a family that escapes injury when their car overturns and bums on a highway, a novice headline writer would probably write the following:

No one hurt in car fire

Given the same story, a good headline writer composes the following headline:

Family escapes flaming death


Headlines on stories dealing with opinion should show the source of that opinion. If a story is attributed to a second hand source, this should be reflected in the headline. Consider the following example:

‘Courts too lenient’ claims priest


You should avoid repeating words in the same headline deck. Also, watch out for similar phraseology in adjacent heads and decks. Consider the following example:

Former Jamshedpur journalist returns to Jamshedpur as public relations officer


A good headline generally has the who and the what of the story in the first line, with the following lines explaining the how and why, if necessary.

People expect newspaper stories to concern events that have occurred since the previous edition was published. Therefore, the when can usually be omitted. If an event is yet to happen, however, warn the reader by the inclusion of the when through the use of the future tense or a specific day or date.

The where in a headline on a local story is generally omitted. Readers expect their newspapers to print local stories and will assume a story is local unless the dateline or headline specifies otherwise.


Use short, vigorous words. Headline writers usually have a vocabulary all their own. They learn to think in terms of short synonyms for longer expressions when writing headlines. Many copy-editing texts contain lists of short synonyms for headline use. Note the following examples: l Named for appointed or elected l Set for arrange or schedule

Win for victory, Ex for former, Job for appointment, Okay for accept, approve or adopt, Try for attempt the list goes on…


Newspaper editors generally adhere to the following style for headlines:

Use single quotation marks instead of double.

Use commas to replace the word and. Also, where natural, use commas to make pauses or breaks in headline construction.

Use semicolons to divide thoughts, where needed especially three-line heads.

Use periods only after abbreviations.

In a caps and lowercase head, start each line and every important word with capital letters.

Articles (which are rarely used) and prepositions (which do not lead off a line) are not capitalised in a caps and lowercase head.


To make sure a headline fits in its allotted space, you can use a form of measurement called a “unit count.” This system assigns each letter, number, punctuation mark and space character a specified number value. The area on a newspaper page is limited, so it is important that you use the unit count system properly.


Headline counting systems vary from newspaper to newspaper. However, in this section, we use the standard system in the newspaper industry today – the “lift-j” unit count system. The letters that compose the name of this system act as a crutch to remind you what groups of letters receive unique values when counting the headline.

The “lift-j” unit count system is determined by the following rules:

All lowercase letters and spaces between words or characters each receive one (1) count.

EXCEPTIONS: l, i, f, t and j each receive one-half (0.5) count;

m and w each receive one and one-half (1.5) counts.

All uppercase letters and all numeric characters each receive one and one-half (1.5) counts.

EXCEPTIONS: M and W each receive two (2) counts; I and the numeral 1 each receive one (1) count. All punctuation characters each receive one-half (0.5) count.

EXCEPTIONS: Each hyphen (-) receives one (1) count; each dollar sign ($) or question mark (?) receives one and one-half (1.5) counts; each dash ( – ) receives two (2) counts.

In counting the units in a headline, you place one tick mark over each character or space that has a count of one; place two tick marks over each character that has a count of two; and place one tick mark beneath each character that has a count of one-half.

After placing the tick marks, total the whole number count values and then add any one-half count values.


1. Tell the story

* Make your headline say something.

* Identify the nut graph of the story. Be careful not to put a first-day head on a second-day story. Always ask yourself “What is this story really about?” You can never go wrong. But . . .

* If you are having trouble distilling what about the story is news, the story is probably failing in its focus. Consult the writer. Ask what the writer thinks the headline should say, or what is the most important point.

* Think inverted pyramid style. Get the most important element first, the least important head element last (most times, attribution will go at the end). If the lead needs attribution, chances are the headline will, too.

2. Sell the story

On a compelling story, say something to your readers. Tell them why they should be interested. Make the headline work with the graphics and art. Look at the photographs before you write the headline. Consider them with the story.

3. Match the tone of the story

If you cried reading the story, then you want a touching head. If you were laughing, write a funny head. Although you want to match the tone of the story, do not steal the exact words. Write a better headline than the lead.

4. Aim for complete thoughts

Avoid bad breaks, such as prepositions and conjunctions at the ends of lines. In extremely tight counts, bad breaks sometimes are unavoidable, but almost anything is better than a bad break at the end of the first line. Avoid breaking proper names at all costs. Do not use pronouns as a subject. They are vague.

5. Be original

Headlines that play on the hot movie title of the day may work, but probably only once. Instead, rely on your own excellent command of the English language. If you do employ word play on an idiom or common phrase, be sure the meter is the same. The headline will ring falsely otherwise.

* Avoid headlinese. Mull, eye, rap, hit, slam, vie, assail, seen and bid are headline weaklings. Alter your approach to get away from them.

* If you feel yourself using a form of get for the verb, try to force yourself to find a more descriptive, energetic verb. You will be surprised at how much information the verb can convey.

* As you read the story jot down key words that come to mind.

* If you use a pun, be honest with yourself. Will it make the reader smile, or groan?

* Avoid trite or overused expressions. Get those clichés out of your system by writing them down. Then define and delete them.

* Do not go for the obvious. For example, on storm stories, verbs like spawn, dump, blow. Look for a fresh approach.

6. Be accurate

Check the headline against the story, then check it again. Make sure it says only what you intend.

  • If you are using a name from the story, put it on a save string. Do not trust yourself to type it in correctly. Similarly for numbers.
  • Spellcheck AFTER you write the display type. In particular, check the proper names.

August 12, 2006 Posted by | TIPS, TRICKS & TOOLS | 2 Comments

Why does a newspaper need a stylebook?

When students begin working on their lab journal, they often ask, ”Why should we use only a set of fonts and colours? It makes the newspaper oh so boring!” In other words, what they are asking is, why should we follow a stylebook? Is a stylebook written in stone? This introduction should help answer some such queries.

Look at some brochures, fliers, film magazines and advertisements. They look quite different from newspapers. You would have noticed that newspapers use only a set of fonts and colours, often limiting them to just about four or five. A stylebook is a set of guidelines that help staff to bring out a newspaper that is homogeneous, coherent and credible. It also provides guidelines on use of language, particularly those concerned with grammar. A stylebook is a guide for a writer or editor for a specific publication. It gives guidelines for usage of terms, typefaces, highlighting, etc. Each good newspaper has its own stylebook and follows it to the tee. Ever wondered why?

* Staffs in a newspaper are always strapped for time. Even the friendliest editors may neglect informing the layout staff about a story until it is too late. One hardly has the time to sit and experiment with different fonts, sizes and colours.

* Some papers tend to look chaotic because everyone on the layout desk wants to experiment with their page designs. While this might be fun, it detracts from the professionalism of the publication.

* Copy for newspapers come from a variety of sources– its own reporters, agencies, freelancers etc. Each source has its own style of writing. Everyone’s ultimate goal should be to create a coherent look for the overall paper. Pursuing one’s own creative muse is nice but it should fall under this umbrella.

Having a stylebook helps reduce questions relating to design and production for newcomers and old-timers alike and reduce inconsistencies in the paper. A stylebook will also allow the staff to focus on more important issues, like writing better headlines, selecting and cropping photos better and originating better ideas for illustrations and graphics.

Despite all these precautions, newspapers continue to contain mistakes. Journalism is writing history in a hurry all right, but that should not be an excuse to present a chaotic, incoherent newspaper to the readers.

When an editor was asked about the philosophy of his newspaper’s design, he said, ”We want our content to drive our design, because design and design elements are meant to orient and signal the eye, prioritise the news and ultimately, provide easy entry points into our stories and packages.” Therefore, one may conclude that a style sheet is written in stone.

This stylebook for has been organised into two sections. Section One deals with use of language to help maintain consistency. This section will prove helpful to both trainee reporters and sub-editors. Section Two gives you tips on writing and subbing copy.

This stylebook is dedicated to all those students, who in their innocence have felt restricted at being asked to adhere to it but will realise its relevance once they step into the industry.



Your computer offers English of several countries. However, WRITE ALL REPORTS IN BRITISH ENGLISH ONLY. Thereby you avoid writing color for colour, favor for favour, leed for lead etc. A simple way of doing it would be to RESET YOUR COMPUTER TO ENGLISH (BRITISH). 1) Click the TOOLS icon on your word page. 2) Select LANGUAGE and click SET LANGUAGE. Another window opens. Select English (British) and click DEFAULT & OK.


Write all dates as March 13, September 15 and NOT 5th of March, 8th of October etc. Also, it is March 15-18 (meaning March 15th to 18th) and NOT March 15- March 18, but it should be March 15- April 15 (meaning for one month). You don’t have to mention the current year. However, write the date as March 15, 1947, September 15, 1968 etc if it is anything before the current year.


DO NOT write govt., commn., advt., adml., etc. Write them out completely as government, communication, advertisement, admiral etc. However, if a company is called The Producers’ Company Ltd. write it that way. By the way, most students write percent instead of per cent. Notice the space between the two words.


All designations in small caps, i.e. president, prime minister, vice-president, chairperson (not chairman), major, general, captain, vice-admiral, vice-chancellor, director, dean, executive officer, chief justice, doctor, physician, psychiatrist, head of the department etc. When you actually refer to a doctor, say Dr. Ajit Jogi.


DO NOT use courtesy titles such as Shri, Smt, Mr, Mrs, Ms, ji etc. Some newspapers use them, some do not. However, most newspapers that do, are inconsistent. They use them in some pages/columns and do not in others. The soundest option, therefore, is to do away with them.


It hurts to see one’s name spelt wrongly. Double check for spellings and be careful with names that are tricky. Ex: Anaida (for Anaeida), Dang (for Daing) etc.


Today’s perfectly normal word can be tomorrow’s flagrant example of sexism, racism or other abuse. Be careful when you identify/ address people by certain words (handicapped, housewife, coloured) etc. They may be more comfortable being addressed as physically challenged, homemaker, blacks etc. Remember, in time, these labels may also fall out of favour.


Spell out ALL NUMBERS below 10. However, you don’t have to write March eighth (March 8).

In the case of currency, write them as Rs. One lakh/crore…. upto Rs. Nine lakh. Those beyond Rs. 10 lakh, mention thus. In the case of writing currencies write them as Rs. Two lakh but 50,000 dollars/ pounds etc. When writing the age, write as one-year old, two-year old,…upto twenty-year old. However, after 20 write 21-year old, 22-year old, 100-year old etc.


Write all timings as 6 a.m. , 9 p.m. and NOT 6.00 P.M. but 6.30 p.m.


Expand all abbreviations and write their acronyms in brackets when you’re using them the first time in your copy. You may abbreviate them later in the copy. Remember STD can mean both straight trunk dialling as well as sexually transmitted diseases, and IT can mean income tax and information technology.


Remember to write the name of the office/ department correctly. Write the official name always. Avoid using other forms such as the psychology department (when it’s called Department of Psychology), sericulture department (Department of Sericulture). NOTE THE USE OF CAPS WHEN THE NAME IS OFFICIAL. However, you can use university, department (with a small cap) in isolation. For example: A university has many departments.


All UNENGLISH words such as pooja, jatra, swamiji, ad hoc, bon voyage, de facto, de jure, faux paus etc. must be italicised. However, you DO NOT need to italicise PROPER NOUNS like Madhvacharya, Raghavendracharya etc.

All BRANDS (Coca Cola, Maruti, Bajaj, Clinic All Clear)/ NAMES OF FILMS (Silence of the Lambs)/ SONGS (Wherever you go…)/ ALBUMS (Lamhe)/ BOOKS (Animal Farm)/ REPORTS (India: A Development Report, 2001) / BIOLOGICAL & ZOOLOGICAL (mimosa pudica) must be italicised. Also italicise The if it is part of the title: The Hindu. Using single quotes is redundant in this case.


Quoting people: Says John,”I have not ….away from college.” Notice that the quote begins with a capital letter and the end quotation mark comes AFTER the period/ BEFORE question mark.

Say a person is quoted as quoting another person: Says John, ”I have not heard anyone who says ‘I don’t attend college’.” Note the use of single quotes within a quote and the use of period BEFORE the double quote.

Use double quotes only when you are quoting somebody. Otherwise, use a single quote. Take this example: Laloo firmly believes in ‘making hay while the sun shines’. Also note that the period in this case comes AFTER the quote.


Always remember, its means belonging to. It’s means IT IS. Therefore, it would be It’s time the group found its way back home.


When writing plural forms like MPs, MLAs and years/decades like ‘in the 60s and 70s’ DO NOT USE APOSTROPHE. However, when you refer to them as belonging to write MP’s/ MPs’, MLA’s/ MLAs’ etc.


Write educational qualifications as B.A. , B. Sc. , M.A. , M. Sc. , B. Com. , M.B.B.S. , M.D. D. Litt. etc.


Days DO NOT take an article. Therefore, you write Black Day, Flag Day, Teachers’ Day etc. NOTE THE USE OF CAPS IN THE INITIAL LETTERS.

Weeks DO take articles. Therefore, you write Railway officials are expected to behave well during the courtesy week. However, it would be The Traffic Police Department will observe a courtesy week beginning this year.

DO NOT USE articles with All India Radio, Radio Pakistan but it is always the British Broadcasting Corporation. Also, if the article is part of the name DO NOT FORGET to use it.


Check out for words that confuse. For example advice (noun) and advise (verb). Also, affect (to have an influence on) and effect (the influence), aid (help), aide (attendant) etc. CONSULT A DICTIONARY (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary) WHEN WORDS CONFUSE YOU.

follow this cardinal principle




ALWAYS write your name//folder name/sub-folder/file name/ file name of photo OR illustration and the word count at the top of your copy. All rewritten copy should be marked rewritten/name of the rewriter. A typical copy would look as under:

Name / lab No. / folder / sub-folder/ file name /photo file name

vineeth/ lab 13-d/ amplus/ articles/ Big B’s victory/ bachchan

Word count:

Rewritten by:


To survive, a newspaper has to win the respect of its audience. Readers must believe that what you print is accurate. Moreover, they have to be able to follow every story. If you misspell the name of your prime minister, or get your facts wrong, your credibility will crumble.

As trainee reporter/ sub-editor, your job is to make sure every story is clear, tight and accurate. This process has three parts: copywriting, editing and proofreading. Let us tackle each part separately.


Any reporter/ copyeditor should have as many of the following on hand as possible:

* A stylebook

* A good dictionary (preferably Oxford Advanced Learner’s)

* Files of current issues & sources


* Double-check the spelling of people’s names and titles
* Check the facts in a story
* Check dates
* Check the quotes
* Make sure you can reach the reporter if you have any questions


Every writer and editor would do well to study and follow these rules:

• Never use a long word where a short one will do

• Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech that you are used to seeing in print

• If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it

• Never use the passive when you can use the active

• Avoid jargon word if you can think of an alternative


• Are the tenses consistent?

• Does the article contain spelling mistakes?

• Does the writer always use the active voice?

Finding story flow

An article is like a jigsaw puzzle, where the lead, quotes and background information come together to produce a complete picture. However, it’s not uncommon for sub-editors to receive stories wherein the lead does not make sense, context is missing and the quotes are redundant. What do you do? The answer is simple: find clarity.

To achieve this goal, you must have a clear idea before you start editing. Ask yourself this question, “In one sentence, what is this article about?” If you, or the writer, cannot come up with this sentence, chances are the story is not a story but rather an idea without focus. The distinction between a story and an unfocussed idea is crucial. A story deals with an issue by describing something, be it an event or topic. An article on pay equity, for instance, might describe how women construction workers earn less than their male counterparts. An unfocussed idea, on the other hand, raises an issue without answering it. Before you start editing a piece, make sure you understand what the story is about. The lead will revolve around this story-thesis. From then on, the article builds on what appeared in the lead.

Watch for context and background

* Look for holes in logic. Watch for over-sensationalism and under-sensationalism.

* Is something outrageous being presented in a bland fashion?

* Is something fairly routine made to sound like the apocalypse?

Read the piece over once and make a mental list of questions for the reporter – things that need to be checked, things you really do not understand and things you think should be in the story but are not. Get the questions answered, and muddy passages reworked, preferably by the reporter.

Check if the lead is accurate, or could it be restated in a more effective way? Do the paragraphs that follow flow logically, or should some be moved up or down? Are important pieces of information buried near the bottom? Are nasty things said about people or institutions backed up, and have they had a chance to respond? Remember objectivity.

Is anything missing? Does the article take for granted that readers possess pieces of information they probably do not know? Is there a historical context to the story, whether it is last week or ten years ago?

It sounds like all this will take hours per story, and at first it might. But given practice a lot of it becomes almost automatic. You must train your eye to read words letter by letter, and your brain to question everything it registers as you read.


Proof-reading refers to the process that occurs after an editor has finished looking at an article. A proof-reader is responsible for making sure no grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, or flaws appear in the story. Proof-reading is a time-consuming task and requires concentration. Therefore, do not try to do this in the middle of an argument or with the music blasting. Do not resort to the spell-computer check. It does not point out use of words with the wrong shade of meaning. For example, my computer suggests that keyline should be replaced by Ceylon/ Ceylonese!

Proof-reading should happen BEFORE layout. Remember, if there are lots of corrections and additions, the length of the story may change. Therefore, work systematically.


Before you make a final print out of your story (either after it’s written or edited) make sure to:

* Write the final word count

* Check the headline of the copy/ caption for the photograph/ graphic/ illustration

* Print them in the proper font and size, say Times New Roman, font size: 12.
* Complete ALL modifications to a story BEFORE you take them on to the PageMaker.

After you have done the page, check the following:

* Are all the stories aligned properly?
* Are they all placed in the proper font? Has a story in bold been marked so and okayed by the executive editor?
* Spelling mistakes in headlines. Nothing can be more irritating than a bloomer in 40 pt. Bold.
* If a story has jumped from an earlier page, is there continuation in the story?
* Is the page number right?
* Is the date right?
* Is the page folio in order?
* If it is the first page, is the date/ place line, volume number in order?
* If it is the last page, is the imprint in order?
* Are all photos/ illustrations/ graphics in CMYK?
* Are the colours used on the page in harmony?
* Are words in boxed items ‘leaking’ on/ outside the box?
* Are all the ‘items’ on the page ‘locked’?
* Has the page been saved as an appropriate file?


August 6, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments


Typography is the theory and practice of letter and typeface design. It is concerned with design elements that can be applied to the letters and text on a page.


Typography is mainly concerned with the style and size of typefaces. All sets of type including letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and other special symbols of the same style and size is called a font.

Fonts are usually differentiated in two ways:

(1) serif vs. sans-serif and

(2) variable width vs. fixed width.

Serifs are the distinctive finishing stokes (both horizontal and vertical) that can be applied to letters to produce a chiselled look. Variable width fonts use proportional spacing between letters, bunching them together in certain cases (note, for example, the compressed “tt” in the word “letter“) while widening them out in others. In contrast, fixed width fonts use the same spacing between letters regardless of their size or shape.

  • The following letters are in a serif font: A E F G H L M N Z.

  • These letters are in a sans-serif font: A E F G H L M N Z.

  • Times New Roman is a serif font.

  • Arial is a sans-serif font.

Serif fonts are generally easier to read than non-serif fonts, because they set out each alphabet against the background. (Research indicates that most readers can read a message in a serif font more quickly–and with greater comprehension and retention–than they can read the same message in a non-serif format. Though this rule may not apply when it comes to using fonts on  websites!)
Variable-width fonts bind letter groups better (and thus make the resulting text seem slightly more cohesive), most readers prefer them to fixed-width fonts.


The size of a typeface is measured in points: One point = 1/72 of an inch. Hence, 72- point type is one inch in height–as measured from the top of the ascender (e.g., the rising stroke in ‘l’) to the bottom of the descender (e.g., the plunging stroke in ‘p’).

This is 18-point Times New Roman.

This is 14-point Arial.

This is 10-point Courier New.

This is 8-point News Gothic MT.

Readers prefer to read documents in 12-point type. As a rule, anything larger than 14 points seems loud and aggressive (like reading page after page of headlines). On the other hand, anything smaller than 10 points looks tiny and forbidding–like fine print on any document.

Style Attributes

Style attribute (e.g., bold, italic, underlining, etc.) can add significance to a particular alphabet/word, depending on the requirement.

Note: Using too many attributes too many times on a single page distracts a reader. Similar is the case with too many colour highlights.

This is italic type.
This is bold Roman.
This is bold italic.
This is underlined.

This is bold underlined.
Brightly coloured text can have a particularly strong impact.

Points and Picas

The basic units of measurement in design are points and picas. Points are used to measure type size. Headlines are measured in points. A column inch is one inch of type over one column.

There are 12 points in a pica. If you divide the point size of a headline by 12, you get the number of picas. For example, if you have a 96-point headline and want to know how many picas to allow for it, take the following steps:

* Because there are 12 points in a pica, divide 96 by 12 to get the number of picas.

* 48 / 12 = 8 picas.

* Dummy 8 picas for a one-line, 96-point.

Sometimes, you have more than one line of a headline. To determine how many picas to allow on your dummy, multiply the size of the headline by the number of lines. If you had a two-line, 48-point headline, you would do the following:

* Multiply 48 by 2 because you have two lines.

* 48 x 2 = 96 points.

* Divide 96, the total points, by 12, the number of points per pica.

* 96 / 12 = 8 picas.

* Dummy 8 picas for a two-line, 48-point headline.


The space between lines of text is called leading. The general rule for determining leading is to add 20 percent to the type size-for example, if you have 10 point text, you should have 12 point leading. It is not unusual to add more leading, but you never want to use less because it can make type much more difficult to read.  For example, the two lines before this are set in more leading.


Involves moving letters closer together or farther apart so that they appear evenly spaced, which in turn makes them easier to read. Most fonts include kerning pairs (To, Tr, We, and so on) that adjust their spacing automatically when typed consecutively.

Choosing & Using Type

There are no good and bad fonts. There are only appropriate and inappropriate fonts. If you determine the requirement, choosing a font won’t be a problem at all!

Type is important because it is an unconscious persuader. It attracts attention, sets the style and tone of a document, colours how readers interpret the words, and defines the feeling of the page–usually without the reader recognising a particular typeface.

  • Your typeface can range from casual to formal, silly to serious, staid to stylish, old fashioned to modern.

  • Just like you would dress in formals when you attend an interview, formal documents have to have that formal look and therefore, choose consistency in using fonts that look formal.

  • You are unconsciously affected by a particular font. You can use this power to your advantage to attract attention, strengthen your message, and improve your image, or you can overlook it and work against yourself saying one message with your text while conveying another with your font.


  • The right typeface can encourage people to read your message. The wrong typeface or bad typography can make your message go unread. Needless to say, you communicate well by using the right kind of font.


Type is on the page to serve the text. It should make the words easy to read and provide a suitable background. Type should not overpower the text.

There are no good and bad typefaces, there are appropriate and inappropriate typefaces. Think about your reader and the feeling you want to convey, then choose a typeface that fits.

Typography is just common sense (this is not just some random number grabbed out of the air; it’s a random number plucked from my brain). Sure, there are a few things you learned in school that you need to unlearn, but overall, the basics of good type are just that, basic.

Here are some principles that would help one choose fonts and their sizes:

  1. Keep body text between 10 and 12 point. Use the same typeface, typesize, and leading for all your body copy.

  2. Use enough leading (or line spacing). Always add at least 1 or 2 points to the type size.

  3. On a newspaper column each line could have between 30-70 characters. Do not make your lines too short or too long.

  4. Make paragraph beginnings clear. Use either an indent or block style for paragraphs. Do not use both at the same time.

  5. Use only one space after a period, not two.

  6. Do not underline anything, especially not headlines or subheads since lines separate them from the text with which they belong.

  7. Use italics instead of underlines.

  8. Do not set long blocks of text in italics, bold, or all caps because they are harder to read.

  9. Leave more space above headlines and subheads than below them, and avoid setting them in all caps. Use subheads liberally to help readers find what they are looking for.

August 6, 2006 Posted by | TIPS, TRICKS & TOOLS | 1 Comment



  • the promotion of a product or service at a price

Advertising manager

  • the person who oversees the sales representatives who sell space to advertisers, and ensures that ads are in the appropriate section


  • an advertisement section in a magazine that looks like an article or a feature


  • a style of journalism in which a reporter takes sides in controversial issues and develops a point of view
  • a style of journalism which is opposite of mainstream journalism, in which reporters are expected to be objective


  • particular emphasis of a media presentation, sometimes called a slant


  • credit given to who said what or the source of facts


  • video images shot specifically to be used over a reporter’s words to illustrate the news event or story, to cover up audio edits of quotes (to avoid the jerking head effect), or to cover up bad shots (out of focus, poorly lighted, etc.)


  • information that is not intended for publication


  • a position that is partial or slanted

Broadcast feature

  • longer than usual broadcast news story that gives reporters 5-25 minutes (compared to usual 30-60 seconds) to develop a deeper look at a news event, trend, or individual
  • the broadcast equivalent of a newspaper feature story; also known as “television magazine piece” or radio feature


  • the name of the reporter

Canadian press

  • National news agency set up by the daily newspapers of Canada to exchange news among themselves and with international news agencies


  • copy which accompanies a photograph or graphic

Classified ads

  • categories of products or services
  • short, direct text ads which clearly indicate WHAT is being advertised, the PRICE, WHERE, and HOW the advertiser can be contacted


  • an article in which a writer or columnist gives an opinion on a topic


  • an advertisement that is presented on television, radio, or film

Conflict of interest

  • the conflict that is created when a writer allows personal interests (friendship, family, business connections, etc.) to influence the outcome of the story


  • the words of an article, news story, or book
  • any broadcast writing, including commercials
  • any written material intended for publication, including advertising


  • the person who “proofreads” copy as it comes in, checking for spelling, punctuation, accuracy of style, and clarity


  • believability of a writer or publication

Date line

  • the place the story was filed


  • a smaller headline which comes between the headline and the story

Display ads

  • ads that include a visual image to advertise a product or service


  • the person who “edits” a story by revising and polishing
  • the person whose job is to approve copy when it comes in and to make decisions about what is published in a newspaper or magazine


  • an article expressing a newspaper or magazine owner’s or editor’s position on an issue

Facts sheet

  • a page of significant information prepared by Public Relations people to help news media in covering a special event

Feature article

  • the main article on the front page of a newspaper, or the cover story in a magazine

Five Ws and H

  • the primary questions a news story answers –Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?


  • people who determine what will be printed, broadcast, produced, or consumed in the mass media


  • language that is unnecessarily complicated, unclear, wordy, or includes jargon


  • narrow margin of white space in the center area in a magazine, newspaper, or book, where two pages meet

Hard news stories

  • factual accounts of important events, usually appearing first in a newspaper


  • the “title” of a newspaper or magazine story

Human interest story

  • a story that focuses on the human side of news and often appeals to the readers’ emotion

Inverted pyramid

  • the structure of a news story which places the important facts at the beginning and less important facts and details at the end, enabling the editor to cut bottom portion of the story if space is required

Investigative journalism

  • a story that requires a great amount of research and hard work to come up with facts that might be hidden, buried, or obscured by people who have a vested interest in keeping those facts from being published


  • any overly obscure, technical, or bureaucratic words that would not be used in everyday language


  • a type of jargon used by newspaper writers
  • language used by journalists that would never be used in everyday speech

Jump line

  • line of type at the bottom of a column which directs the reader to somewhere else in the paper where the story is completed, allowing more space for stories to begin on the front page


  • an ending that finishes a story with a climax, surprise, or punch line

Layout editor

  • the person who begins the layout plan, considering things like placement and amount of space allotted to news and advertising copy, graphics, photos, and symbols


  • the first sentence or first few sentences of a story


  • publishing in print (or other media) false information that identifies and deframes an individual

Managing editor

  • the person who co-ordinates all news departments by collecting all copy and ensuring that all instructions for printer or typist are clear and consistent
  • the person who meets and consults with the staff to make a plan


  • the “banner” across the front page which identifies the newspaper and the date of publication
  • the publication information on the editorial page

Media relations

  • a function of public relations that involves dealing with the communications media in seeking publicity for, or responding to media interest in, an organization


  • newsroom library

News angle

  • the aspect, twist, or detail of a feature story that pegs it to a news event or gives it news value for the reader

Newspaper styles

  • styles of various newspapers including dailies, tabloids, and weeklies


  • language that distorts, confuses, or hides reality

Off the record

  • something a source does not want repeated in a news story

Op-ed page

  • a page in a newspaper that is opposite the editorial page, and contains columns, articles, letters for readers, and other items expressing opinions


  • a completed television news story on tape, which is edited before a news show goes on air and contains reporter’s stand-ups, narration over images, and an out-cue for the anchor to start speaking at the end of the tape


  • an indirect quote or summary of the words the news maker said


  • still images which communicate the photojournalist’s angle or perceived reality


  • short for pictures


  • using the work of another person (both written words and intellectual property) and calling that work your own

Public affairs

  • various activities and communications that organizations undertake to monitor, evaluate, influence, and adjust to the attitudes, opinions, and behaviours of groups or individuals who constitute their publics


  • the people who gather facts for the stories they are assigned to write


  • lines used to separate one story from another on a newspaper page


  • shaded areas of copy in a newspaper


  • a column of copy and/or graphics which appears on the page of a magazine or newspaper to communicate information about the story or contents of the paper


  • similar to libel, but spoken instead of published

Soft news

  • stories that are interesting but less important than hard news, focusing on people as well as facts and information and including interviews, reviews, articles, and editorials

Sound bite

  • the videotaped quote in television news


  • a person who talks to a reporter on the record, for attribution in a news story


  • hidden slant of a press source, which usually casts the client in a positive light


  • a reporter’s appearance in a TV news story
  • usually a head and shoulders shot which features the reporter talking into a microphone at the scene of the news event, often used as a transition, or at the beginning or ending


  • conformity of language use by all writers in a publication (e.g., AP style is conformity to the rules of language according to the Associated Press)

Summary lead

  • the traditional journalism tool used to start off most hard news stories
  • the first few sentences of a news story which usually summarizes the event and answers the questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?


  • a video effect that allows the television station to print and superimpose the name of a news source over his or her image when the source is shown talking in a news story


  • technically, a publication half the size of a standard newspaper page; but commonly, any newspaper that is splashy and heavily illustrated
  • a “supermarket” tabloid that stresses dramatic stories, often about sensational subjects

Target audience

  • a specific group of people that media producers or advertisers want to reach


  • a rhetorical device used in writing to move the story smoothly from one set of ideas to the next by finding a way to connect the ideas logically

Trend story

  • a feature story that focuses on the current fads, directions, tendencies, and inclinations of society

Video press release

  • a press release for television, prepared on tape, complete with images and sound which can be used by the news media without additional permission or editing


  • a writer’s development of distinctive characteristics and idiosyncrasies of language use that make his or her writing as easily recognizable as the inflections, tone, and pronunciation of speech that make a person’s vocalized speech pat terns distinctive

Wire services

  • services that provide news from around the world to publications that subscribe for a fee (e.g., Associated Press, Canadian Press, Reuters, and United Press International)
  • co-operatives that share news stories among members (e.g., Canadian Press)

World Wide Web

  • large directory of information on the Internet




ABC – abbreviation for Audit Bureau of Circulation, an organization that compiles statistics on circulation

acetate – clear plastic that words are photocopied onto. The words on acetate are then placed over original artwork that is unscanable

ad – advertisement

add – copy to be added to a story already written

advance – a preliminary story concerning a future event

advertising – commercial messages that announce merchandise or services for sale. The messages are printed in newspaper space paid for by the advertiser

ad flow – refers to the computer system that shuffles classified ads within their categories so that they fit best on a page

ad send – a computer system that receives camera-ready advertisements from businesses using a modem

agate – type 5 1/2 points in depth, the smallest ordinarily used in newspapers (72 points equal one inch). Usually used for sports statistics

air – white space on a printed page

a.m. – a morning paper

angle – the approach or perspective from which a news fact or event is viewed, or the emphasis chosen for a story. See slant.

AP – Associated Press – a cooperative, worldwide news-gathering service

Assignment – any news-gathering task given to a reporter



backgrounder – (1) a meeting with the press in which a source gives information not for publication (2) informative, factual story that relates the history or background of a current news event in order to aid audience understanding

balloon – a cartoon device, used in comic strips and occasionally in other ways, that show the words of a person coming directly from his mouth into the “balloon”

bank – (1) lower portion of a headline (2) computer file in which stories are kept before they are placed in their designated page form

banner – a headline stretching across the top of a page; also called a “streamer” or “banner line”

beat – a reporter’s regular assignment, such as city hall beat, police beat

binding – any further treatment of stock after printing; includes cutting, folding, trimming, gathering, stitching and gluing

bleed – an illustration filling one or more margins and running off the edge of the page or border; used frequently in magazines and advertisements

blind ad – a classified ad hat does not reveal the identity of the advertiser; responses are generally sent to a P.O. box

blind interview – an interview story in which the interviewed person is not disclosed; e.g., a “highly placed official,” a source close to the mayor,” etc.

blow up – (1) to play a story beyond its news value (2) to enlarge something (photo, art, copy, etc.)

body type – type used in stories, not in headlines; generally under 12-point size; opposite of display type

boil or “boil down” – an expression for condensing news copy

bold or boldface – heavy or dark-faced type. This is boldface.

border – boxes or frames around pictures, stories and advertisements. Borders are computer generated and are available in many different styles.

box – refers to type that is framed in a border to give it prominence. The box is sometimes “filled” with a shaded area.

break – (1) the point at which a story turns from one column to another or “jumps” to another page (2) the time when a story becomes available for publication. News is said to “break” when it happens

bulldog – the earliest edition of a newspaper, or one printed outside its regular schedule; e.g., a Sunday paper printed days ahead of its publication date

bullet – a large dot or other shape used as an attention-getter

bumped heads – similar headlines running side by side that create monotony and the tendency to read across.

byline – the author’s name carried at the top of a story



canned copy – term applied to publicity material sent by press agents

caption – headline or text accompanying a picture or illustration; also called a cutline

circulation – the total number of copies of a publication distributed to subscribers and vendors in one day

city editor – the editor in charge of the collection, writing and editing of local news

classified advertising – advertising arranged according to the product or service advertised, and usually restricted in size and format. The ads are “classified” into various categories such as help wanted, autos for sale, apartments for rent, etc.

clean copy – copy requiring few corrections

clean proof – a proof requiring few corrections

clip – abbreviation for a clipping from a newspaper or from the files of the newspaper’s library

color – “coloring a story” implies introducing an element of bias or editorial point of view. “Giving a story color” means brightening the story with human interest material.

column – (1) area on a news page usually 10 to 14 picas wide or 8 picas wide on a classified page (2) article appearing regularly, written by a writer or “columnist”

column inch – a unit of measurement one inch deep and one column wide

columnist – a writer using the same space daily, such as Ann Landers, in contrast to a reporter

compose – to type copy into a computer file

composition – the overall appearance of a newspaper page

condensed type – type with character that are narrower than those of standard width, permitting more characters per line

copy – (1) all written material (2) reproducing materials using a photocopier

copy desk – the desk where copy is edited, headlined and placed on the page it will appear in the newspaper

copy editor or copy reader – a person who corrects or edits copy written by reporters, checks stories for accuracy

copyediting or copyreading – correcting, improving and marking copy to be printed

copyright – legal protection of an author’s exclusive right to his or her work for a specified period of time

correspondent – a reporter assigned to cover work away from the home office in another city, state or country. A “string” correspondent is not a full-time employee of the newspaper, and is paid according to the quantity of copy accepted by the newspaper. See also stringer.

credit line – a photographer’s byline. The name of the person or organization responsible for making or distributing a photograph, usually appearing small type under the reproduced picture

crop – to change the composition of a picture by cutting part of it out. A picture may be cropped to remove undesired background, to create more impact or to adjust the photograph to available space on the printed page.

crusade – a newspaper campaign to bring about a desired reform or improvement

cub – a beginning reporter

cut – (1) noun – a drawing or illustration usually copied off of computer disk libraries (2) verb – to reduce the length of a story

cutline – the copy (usually only a few lines) that accompanies and gives necessary information about a picture or “cut”.



daily – refers to newspapers that print a new newspaper each day

dateline – line at the beginning of a story for out of town that indicates both the place and the date of origin of the story

deadline – the last moment to get copy in for an edition

deck – a “bank” or section of a headline

dingbat – typographic decorative device, such as a star or heart

display ad – advertising matter other than in-column classified ads. They usually have a border.

dog watch – the late shift on a morning paper, or the earliest shift on an afternoon paper.

dope – advance information, often based on gossip or rumor

downstyle – capitalizing only the first word and proper nouns in headlines

drop – (1) short for “drop head”, a headline accompanying a streamer and based on the same story. (2) a story that was planned to run and then didn’t

dummy – a diagram or layout of a newspaper page showing the position each story, picture, headline and advertisement is to have



ears – space at the top of the front page on each side of the newspaper’s name where weather news, index to pages or announcement of special features appears

edition – a press run of a newspaper. A daily generally has more than one edition a day – for example, “City Edition”, “Lakeshore Edition”, “Early Edition”, “Late Edition”

editorial – (1) an article that expresses the opinion of the newspaper’s editors and usually also reflects the opinion of the publisher or owner of the newspaper (2) the department of the newspaper where news is gathered, written, edited and readied for publication

editorial cartoon – cartoon that expresses an opinion about a news personality, issue or event

editorialize – to express an opinion in a news story or a headline. Editorializing in the news columns is not considered good journalism.

em – unit of measuring column widths. An em (for the letter M) is a square of any given size of type, and is most frequently used as the unit in measuring “pica” (the width of an em in 12-point type).

en – half of an em

exchanges – copies of newspapers received by a paper when it exchanges subscriptions with other papers. Some large newspapers have an exchange editor to scan these papers.

exclusive – a story printed by only one paper; a scoop

extended type – type with characters that are wider or have more space between them than those of standard width; fewer characters can be used in a line.

extra – an edition other than a regular one. Today it is published only when an event of transcending news importance warrants it.



face – the style of type

feature – (1) noun – any story that has human interest value, even though it is not news in the strict sense (2) verb – to give prominence to a story or to emphasize a particular angle of a story

file – to send news by wire; also used to designate one day’s output by a press association

filler – short informational stories or advertisements, usually timeless, used to fill small spaces where needed

first-day story – a story published for the first time and dealing with something that has just happened, as distinguished from a “follow-up” story

five Ws – who? what? when? where? why? – the questions usually answered in the lead of a news story

flag – the printed title (i.e., name and logo) of a newspaper at the top of the front page

flash – the first brief bulletin from a press association with information about an important news event

flop – to reverse art laterally

flush – even with the column margin. Type set “flush” has no indentation for paragraphs.

folio – newspaper name, date, and page number that appear at the top of each page

follow-up – story giving later developments of an event already reported

font – a complete assortment of type of a given design, style and size

four-color process – a printing process that reproduces a full range of colors by overprinting red, yellow, blue and black (The true colors are: magenta, yellow, cyan, and black)

fourth estate – traditional term for “the press” which originated in the 18th century English parliament



general assignment – a reporter who covers a variety of stories rather than a single “beat”

ghost – a “ghost writer” is someone who writes stories for another’s signature

glossy – a shiny-finished photographic print, generally easier to use than “matte-finished” prints

goodnight – a reporter is released from duty for the day when he or she gets a “goodnight” from the editor

graf – paragraph

graveyard shift – same as dog watch

gutter – the space or margin between facing pages



halftone – a special way of photographing a picture so that it appears to be composed of tiny dots

handout – a press release – prepared material given to news people in the hope that it will be printed without change or that it will be helpful in preparing news stories hard news – important news – straight news reporting without interpretation or background material

head/header – headline

headline – display type placed over a story summarizing the story for the reader; commonly thought of as the largest line of type across top of newspaper calling attention to the most important story of that edition.

hold – “hold for release” instruction to hold a story until the editor releases it for publication

hook – the stylistic device used by a reporter to draw a reader into the story

hot – a label given to an important story

human interest – emotional appeal in the news. A “human interest” story, as compared with a “straight news” story, bases its appeal more on the unusual than on consequence.



insert – a flyer or magazine that is inserted into the folded newspaper after it has been printed

inverted pyramid – the standard news story structure in which facts are arranged in descending order of importance

issue – all the copies which a newspaper publishes in one day



jump – (1) verb – to continue a story from one page to another (2) noun – the continued material

jumplines – the continuation instructions of a story that is jumped to another page (Continued on page 5; Continued from page 1)

justify – computers add spaces between words or individual letters of type so that lines of a column are flush left and flush right



kicker – small headline, often in italics and usually underlined, above and slightly to the left of the main head

kill – to eliminate all or part of a story



layout – (1) a sketch or drawing that indicates the arrangement of pictures and copy on a printed page. Used synonymously with “dummy” (2) a combination of stories, pictures, etc. about a single subject.

lc – lower case

lead (pronounced “led”) – the space between lines of type. This space is often altered so that stories form perfect boxes

lead (pronounced “lead”) – (1) the first few sentences or the first paragraph of a story (2) a tip that may lead to a story

letter to the editor – a letter in which a reader expresses his or her views in the newspaper; usually printed on the editorial page or the page opposite the editorial page

libel – publication of material that unjustly injures a person’s reputation

library – a newspaper’s collection of clippings, books, files, etc.

lineage – the amount of advertising printed in a specific period

line cut – a drawing or artwork that is in black and white without shadows or shades of gray. The opposite of a “halftone”

linotype – a computer printer that creates one line at a time

localize – to emphasize the local angle in an out-of-town story

logo – short for “logotype” – the specific design and way a title or company name is written. Artwork often accompanies the title

lower case – small letter, in contrast to capitals



make-over – rearrangement of stories on a page to provide for new copy or to change the position of stories.

mark up – (1) to put composition or editing instructions on copy or layouts

masthead – statement of ownership, place of publication, executive personnel and other information about the newspaper, generally placed on the editorial page

modem – a device that uses telephone lines to transmit data from one computer to another

monotype – a computer printer that creates one letter at a time.

more – the word placed at the bottom of a page of copy to indicate that the story doesn’t end there – more is coming

morgue – where old newspapers, clippings, cuts and pictures are stored



negative – an image that is opposite the way it will appear in the paper. Dark areas appear light and light areas appear dark

news hole – the amount of space left for news after advertisements have been arranged on the page

newsprint – a grade of paper made from recycled paper and wood pulp, used primarily for printing newspapers

news services – news-gathering agencies such as Associated Press, or United Press International that distribute news to subscribing newspapers



obit or obituary – a biography of a dead person. Sometimes “canned obits” are kept on file in the newspaper’s library to be used at the time of a prominent person’s death. offset press – a printing press in which the inked image is transferred from a plate to a rubber roller, which in turn puts the ink onto the paper.

off the record – information not for publication, or at least not attributed to the source if used as background

op-ed – page of comment facing (opposite) the editorial page. Some newspapers use this page for letters to the editor, articles by columnists, etc.

overline – the caption above a photograph


pad – to make a story longer by using more words than are necessary

page one – (1) noun – the first page of the newspaper (2) adjective – important, as in “page one news”

paste up – art and photos are occasionally “pasted up” on a page when they are not scanned into the computer

patent insides – name given to “ready-print” inside pages bought from syndicates by smaller papers. Also called boilerplate

Photofax – brand name for an Associated Press machine that electronically receives and prints photographs by wire from a national AP network

photoshop – a computer program for photographs. Photos are scanned into the computer where the image appears on the CRT. The image can then be cropped and the size altered to fit a desired space.

pi – disarranged type hopeless jumbled

pica – (1) 12-point type (2) unit of linear measurement equal to 1/6 of an inch (i.e., six picas equal one inch.)

pix – abbreviation for pictures

plate – a plate contains the image of one page and is installed onto the press

play – the emphasis given a piece of news. A story may be “played down” or “played up.”

p.m. – an afternoon paper

point – the unit of measurement in which type sizes are designated; approximately 1/72 of an inch

press conference – meeting called to give information to the news media

press release – specially prepared statement for the news media. See handout

proof – “proofreading” to look over items before they are printed and mark errors and changes for correction

proofreader – person who reads pages and marks errors for correction

public relations – the art or science of developing understanding and goodwill between a person, firm or institution and the public

publisher – the chief executive and often the owner of a newspaper or other publishing firm

puff – editorialized, complimentary statement in a news story

put to bed – printer’s term meaning all the pages of an edition are completed and the presses are ready to roll



quotes – quotation marks. A quote is a portion of a story that consists of direct quotations.


readertorial – a long letter to the editor that is written and produced as an editorial

review – a writer’s critical evaluation of an artistic event, such as a movie or play

rewrite – literally, to write again. On large newspaper, rewrite persons are assigned to such tasks as taking facts over the telephone from a leg man and writing the story, oiling down information received from news and publicity agencies, and revising a story to improve it.

run – (1) the territory assigned regularly to a reporter; a beat (2) a press run, an edition. A story is “run” when it is printed.

run-around – body of type to be set around an odd-shaped picture, as in a feature story or a magazine

running story – a story that develops over a period of several days or more and is reported from day to day

runover – part of a story that continues on a second page



sacred cow – a person, subject or institution given special favor or treatment in a newspaper

schedule – a news editor’s record of assignments. Also, the copy editor’s record of stories handled

scoop – an exclusive story or photograph; a beat

second-day story – a “follow-up” story giving new developments on one that has already appeared in the newspaper

second front page – the front page of a second section; also called the “split page”

sectional story – a major news story with different aspects, featured under two or more headlines

series – a group of related stories generally run on successive days

set – to type words into a computer file

sidebar – a secondary news story that supports or amplifies a major story

skyline – a banner head that runs above the nameplate

slant – an angle of a story. A story is “slanted” when a certain aspect is played up for policy or other reasons.

soft copy – copy seen on a computer screen

source – a supplier of information. A person, document, etc.

split page – usually the first page of the inside or second section of the newspaper carrying local or area news; the second front page

spot news – news obtained on the scene of an event, usually unexpectedly

spread – the display given to an important story; a double spread is one across facing pages

standing heads – headlines that do not change and are usually kept in a library file on a computer so they are ready for instant use

stet – “let it stand.” Proofreader’s notation instructing the printer to ignore a change marked on a proof; from the Latin “stetundum”.

story – the general term applied to any newspaper article written by a reporter

straight news – a plain account of news facts written in standard style and structure, without coloring or embellishments

streamer – a multi-column headline leading a page, but not necessarily across its full width. Synonymous with banner.

stringer – a correspondent for a newspaper or a news agency, usually part-time, who often covers a certain subject or geographic area. The person is usually paid according to the number or length of stories printed by the newspaper.

style book – a compilation of typographical and other rules formulated by a newspaper to make uniform its treatment of spelling, capitalization, abbreviations, punctuation, typography, etc. Most newspapers provide style books for their staffs’ use.

subhead – small, one-line headline inserted in the body of a story to break up the monotony of a solid column of small type

syndicate – an organization that buys and sells feature material of all kinds, such as comic strips, gossip columns, crossword puzzles, etc.



tabloid – a newspaper of small page size, usually 11 inches wide and 16 to 18 inches deep

take – a portion of copy in a running story sent down to the composing room in sections

tearsheet – a full page of the paper, including the folio, that has been clipped out sent to an advertiser as proof that his or her ad has appeared.

text – the verbatim report of a speech or public statement

tombstone – to place two or more headlines of similar size side by side. Eyes tend to read across from one head into the next.

typo – typographical error – a mechanical error in typing a story



uc or u.c. – uppercase, or capital, letters

uppercase – capital letters

up style – editing style calling for extensive use of capital letters; opposite of downstyle



widow – a single word or short line of type at the end of a paragraph, particularly at the top or bottom of a column or page

wire copy – editorial matter supplied by outside sources, especially that transmitted by telegraph or teletype from news services

wire service – a news collection and transmission service. News services include:

-PTI-Press Trust of India

-UNI-United News of India

-AFP – Agence France-Presse – world service based in France
-AP – Associated Press – world service based in the U.S.
-CNT-CPT – Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Telegraph, for transmission of correspondents’ stories
-CP – Canadian Press news service
-Reuters – world service based in the United Kingdom
-Tass – Soviet Union news service
-UPI – United Press International, world service based in the U.S.


yellow journalism – sensational journalism




ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation). Organization supported jointly by publishers, advertising agencies and advertisers whose purpose is to verify the paid circulation statements of member publishers.

Broadsheet. Standard newspaper page size (approximately 15″x22″).

Center Spread. An advertisement appearing on the two facing center pages of a publication.

Circulation. The total number of distributed copies of a publication averaged over a number of issues.

Classified Advertising. Print advertising that is set in a small type size and arranged according to categories or interests.

Classified Display Advertising. Classified advertising of a larger size than other classified advertising, with borders, headlines, illustrations, etc.

Closing Date. The final deadline set by print media for advertising material to appear in a certain issue. Also referred to as “deadline.”

Column Inch. A newspaper measurement of the smallest possible ad space – one column wide by one inch long.

Daily Rate. The rate a newspaper charges for advertising Monday-Saturday as opposed to the rate charged for Sunday.

Display Advertising. Print advertising which includes a headline, copy and illustrative material. It can be distinguished from classified advertising which contains only copy.

Double Truck. Term for a print advertisement that uses two full pages side-by-side and crosses over the gutter of the spread..

Fractional Page. Advertising space that is less than a full page.

Insert. A printed piece delivered to consumers inside of a daily or weekly newspaper.

Local Rate. An advertising rate offered to local advertisers that is lower than the rate offered to national advertisers.

National Rate. A higher rate that newspapers charge national advertisers as distinguished from local rates charged to local advertisers.

Open Rate. The highest rate charged by a newspaper because of infrequency of advertising.

Paid Circulation. The number of print copies that are purchased by audience members.

Pass-Along Readers. Readers of a publication who did not purchase it. Also called “secondary readers.”

Position. An advertisement’s location on a page.

Pre-Print. Advertising material that is printed in advance of the regular press run, perhaps on another printing press with greater capability for color.

Publisher’s Statement. A notarized statement from the publisher of his total circulation, geographic distribution, methods of securing subscriptions, etc.

Rate Card. A publication’s printed listing of advertising costs, deadlines, mechanical specifications, circulation figures, etc.

Readership. Total average number of people who are exposed to a publication. Different from circulation figures.

Rebate. A payment that is returned by the media to an advertiser who has exceeded his contract minimum and earned a greater discount.

R.O.P. (Run of Paper). An advertisement that is positioned anywhere in a publication with no specific position defined. Also used to describe all non-classified advertising.

Shopper. A local, weekly newspaper usually delivered to homes free of charge.

Short Rate. An additional charge to an advertiser who fails to meet a contract minimum which results in a higher rate than originally contracted for.

Space Contract. A statement of intent to run a specified volume of space in a newspaper which indicates the applicable frequency or volume rate discount.

Sunday Supplement. A newspaper section in magazine format that is inserted into the newspaper but is not part of the newspaper itself.

Tabloid. A smaller than standard-sized newspaper or special newspaper section that is approximately half the size of a standard newspaper.

Tearsheets. Pages that are torn or cut from a publication to provide proof of insertion of an advertisement.

August 6, 2006 Posted by | TIPS, TRICKS & TOOLS | Leave a comment

What you’ll see!

Yes, what you’ll see in this blog is several articles, tips and tricks for journalism students and articles on the media. If you happen to have an article in mind and want to post it, do send it across. I shall be glad to put it on. Material for this blog is not entirely original and some of it would have been compiled from various sources. The intention is not to plagiarise, but to provide info to journalism students at one source.

August 6, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment