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News Terms Glossary

Above the Fold: A broadsheet paper folded in half for display. The top half of the page, above the fold, is held to be the most important real estate in the paper. A reporter’s supreme ambition is to get an article above the fold. For online material, it refers to the part of a webpage that is visible without further scrolling or clicking.

Anchor: The newscaster who hosts the studio portion of the newscast. The anchor is the dominant voice in the presentation of the news to the audience. This person must be proficient in writing, producing, and editing the news.

Angle: Short for news angle, it is that aspect of a story which a journalist chooses to highlight and develop. Usually the most newsworthy of its key points. Also called the hook.

Attribution: Designation of the person being quoted. Also, the source of information in a story.

Backgrounder: A story used to provide history and context to a current news story.

Banner: A headline in large letters stretching across the width of a page, usually at the top.

Bias: Where a news report is slanted (or unbalanced) to make one side of the story seem more important.

Blind Interview: More common in print than in broadcast journalism, a blind or off-the-record interview is one in which the interviewee is intentionally left unaccredited (also known as a non-attributable.)

Blog: Short for weblog, an online commentary or diary often written by individuals about their specialist interests, hobbies, family, politics etc.

Caption: In television, information superimposed over a picture, usually at the top or bottom of the screen, describing what is being shown. Often used to name and describe the person speaking.

Chyron: The words on the screen that identify speakers, locations, or story subjects. Chryon is a trade name for a type of character generator. 

Circulation: Total number of copies sold by newspapers in one day, or in the case of a magazine, the numbers sold whenever it’s published.

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

Correspondent: A reporter who files stories from outside the newsroom—usually someone assigned to cover events in another city, state, or country, e.g. European correspondent.

Crawl: Type moving across the top or bottom of a television screen. Used by news stations to show the main headlines of the moment, stock prices, the weather or other useful current information.

Feature: A longer article or story, usually in greater depth and complexity than a simple news item. Features may grow from a current news event or simply be examining a timeless issue.

Feed: A satellite or microwave transmission of live or recorded material.

Fourth Estate: A traditional name for the press, referring to it as the “fourth branch” of government; the term indicates the role and the importance of the free press in a democratic society.

Human Interest: A news story focusing on a personality or individual’s story with wide appeal to a general audience.

Lead: The first few sentences or the first paragraph of a news story, containing the summary or the introduction to the story (also known as the intro). Also, a tip that may lead a reporter to a story.

Masthead: A formal statement of a newspaper’s name, officers, place of publication and other descriptive information, usually on the editorial page.

Off-the-Record: Describes material offered the reporter in confidence. If the reporter accepts the material with this understanding, it cannot be used except as general background in a later story.

Op-ed: A page opposite the editorial page, where opinions by guest writers are presented.

Remote: A live shot from the field, where a satellite truck is required to transmit the image.

Scoop: An important or significant news story published or broadcast before other competing media know of it.

Sidebar: A column beside a main story which has more information about – or another angle to – the main story to which it is attached.

Standfirst: Words linking the headline to the story. The standfirst is in smaller print than the headline but larger print than the story.

Source: Where information comes from, usually a person who gives a journalist information.

Syndicated Features: Material such as comics, advice columns, etc., supplied nationally to newspapers by news syndicates.

Tease: A short description of an upcoming story designed to keep the viewer watching through commercial breaks.

Wire Services: Newsgathering agencies such as AP and UPI that gather and distribute news to subscribing newspapers.

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