Glossary of Newspaper Terms

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Advertisement (or Ad) - Printed notice of something for sale paid for by the advertiser.

Angle- The approach or perspective from which a news fact or event is viewed, or the emphasis chosen for a story.

Art - Any photo, map graph or illustration.

Assignment - A story a reporter is given to cover.

Associated Press Stylebook (or AP Stylebook)- The standard reference source for reporters and editors on word usage, libel, numbers, titles, capitalization and commonly used words and phrases.


Banner - A headline stretching across the top of a page.

Beat - A reporter's regular assignment, for covering news like sports or music.

Bleed- An illustration filling one or more margins and running off the edge of the page or border; used frequently in magazines and advertisements.

Body Copy - The main part of a story.

Body Type- Type used in stories, not in headlines; generally under 12-point size; opposite of display type.

Box - Refers to type that is framed in a border to give it prominence.

Break - Initial news coverage of an event.

Budget - The lineup of news stories scheduled for the next day's newspaper.

Bumped Heads- Similar headlines running side by side that create monotony and the tendency to read across.

Byline - The author's name, which is printed at the beginning of an article.


Camera-ready- Refers to anything that is in its finished form - no further changes are needed before it is published in the paper.

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.

Clip Art- A variety of art provided to newspapers on a subscription basis, for use in ads.

Column- The arrangement of horizontal lines of type, usually 10 to 14 picas wide, in a news story; also, an article appearing regularly written by a particular writer or "columnist."

Columnist - A person who writes a regular column giving a personal opinion.

Copy - All material for publication, whether written stories or pictures.

Copy Editor- The person who corrects or edits copy written by a reporter and writes headlines.

Copyediting - Correcting, improving and marking copy to be printed.

Cover - To gather information and get facts for a story.

Credit Line - See Photo Credit.


Dateline- The line at the beginning of a story giving the place and date of the articles origination.

Deadline - A time at which all copy for an edition must be submitted.

Deck - A "bank" or section of a headline.

Dummy- A preliminary layout of a newspaper page, showing the placement of stories, headlines, pictures and advertisements.


Ears- Space at the top of the front page on each side of the newspaper's name where ads, weather news, index to pages or announcement of special features appears.

Edition- The issue for one press run: home edition, state edition, final home edition, extra.

Editor- A person who directs the editorial policies; or a person who decides what news will go in the paper and where it will appear

Editorial- An article expressing the opinion of the newspaper regarding a certain subject.

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.

Exclusive - A story printed by only one paper; a scoop.


Face - The style of type.

Feature- A story in which the interest lies in some factor other than the news value, usually to entertain.

Filler- Short informational stories or advertisements, usually timeless, used to fill small spaces where needed.

Flag- The printed title (i.e., name and logo) of a newspaper at the top of the front page.

Folio- Newspaper name, date and page number that appear at the top of each page.


General Assignment - A reporter who covers a variety of stories rather than a single "beat."

Gutter - The space between columns or margins between facing pages


Hard News - Factual news stories without opinion.

Headline - The title of an article.

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.


Inserts- An advertisement or magazine that is printed separately and inserted into the folded newspaper.

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 - To continue a story from one page to another.

Jumplines- The continuation instructions of a story that is jumped to another page (Continued on page 5; Continued from page 1).


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.

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.


Managing Editor- The editor who directs the daily gathering, writing and editing of news and the placement of news in the paper; working for him or her are the city editor, the copy editor, etc.

Masthead- Details of the publisher, place of publication, editorial staff and information about the newspaper, generally placed on the editorial page.

Morgue - Where old newspapers, clippings, cuts and pictures are stored.


Newsprint- A grade of paper made from recycled paper and wood pulp, used for printing newspapers.


Off The Record- Information not for publication, or at least not attributed to the source if used as background.

Op-ed- Page opposite the editorial page used for letters to the editor, articles by columnists, etc.


Pad - To make a story longer by using more words than are necessary.

Photo Credit- 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. Also called credit line.

Pica- (1) 12-point type; (2) Unit of linear measurement equal to 1/6 of an inch (i.e., six picas = one inch.).

Plagiarism - Passing off as one's own the ideas and words of another.

Plate- A plate contains the image of several pages, in multiples of 4, and is installed onto the press.

Pre-date - An edition issued before its announced date of publication.

Press - Machine that prints the newspaper.

Press Run - Total number of copies printed.

Proof- A page on which newly set copy is reproduced to make possible the correction of errors.

Proofreader - One who reads proof pages and marks errors for corrections.

Put to Bed - When the paper heads to press and newsroom has signed off all pages.


Q and A- Copy in question and answer form, as in verbatim reports of court proceeding.

Quotes- (1) Quotation marks; (2) A quote is a portion of a story that consists of direct quotations.


Railroad - To rush copy through to the paper without careful editing.

Register - Correct placement of plates to ensure ink is properly aligned.

Rough - A preliminary layout not in finished form.


Scoop- A story obtained before other newspapers or other media receive the information.

Series - A group of related stories generally run on successive days or weeks.

Sidebar - A secondary news story that supports or amplifies a major story.

Single Copy - Sales of newspapers from a newsstand or rack; Papers sold one at a time.

Source - The supplier of information, such as a person, book, survey, etc.

Straight News - A plain account of news facts written in standard style and structure.

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


Tabloid- A newspaper of small page size, usually 11 inches wide and 17 inches deep.

Thumbnail - A half-column picture.

Typographical Error (or Typo) - A mechanical error in typing a story.




Web Press- Machine used to print the newspaper. Paper is woven through the press to facilitate printing.

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.


Yellow Journalism - Sensational journalism.