Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Jargon used in Journalism: How we Cheese Argot in Newsrooms (A-G)

So here we are, a simple glossary of journalism jargon, and the things we say in 'secret' when 'shooting' a scene or show, when 'whipping' a news edition, or when 'nodding' to the nice interviewer on TV. I have explained in the introduction why we go anti-cheese on English words in our newsrooms. Here are the lot. 

Journalism Jargon A to G

Actuals or Actuality (Radio): That is the sound of something actually happening. I don’t really see the whole point to the meaning here, actually.

Backbenchers (mainly US): No, they are not your usual class backbench crew with -D grades in Mass.Comm. The term refers to senior production journalists in a newspaper

Beat (India, US, UK), Patch, or Round: A specialist area of journalism on which a reporter regularly covers or specializes. Some ‘beats’ are development, policy, police, politics, policy and governance, education, healthcare, music, fashion and entertainment etc. Example: A journalist specializing in or exclusively covers government-releated issues is a policy or political journalist. 

Blind, Non-Attributable, or Off-Record: A published interview where the interviewee is not named, e.g. ‘a senior official’. Blind also refers to conducting interviews not knowing the subject matter.

Blob: A bullet point in type, used in text layout to list points at the end of a story

Blooper, Flub, or Out-take: In broadcasting, recorded material left out of program

Bump, Bump Ahead, or Bumping: To move the position of a story, either up or down the scale of priority or position

Churnalism:  Journalism that churns out rewrites of media releases. The media in Nagaland is a good example of Churnalism. We are so lazy we don’t seek stories – survive on press releases and crowd-sourced content

Crawl: Those texts you see moving across the top or bottom of the television screen.  Used by news stations to show the main headlines of the moment, stock exchange prices, the weather or other useful current information. In other words, the eye sores.

Cub, or Rookie: That’s the term for a trainee, or entry-reporter. It is also a derogatory terms for journalists who are not conversant with industry skills, or skills relevant to his position

Dead air: An extended, unwanted silence on radio, often caused by technical or operating errors

Death-knock: This one is an intrusion, basically. It refers to an assignment in which a reporter calls at the home of a bereaved relative or friend when gathering information about a death. Some broadcasters also use the term for an unheralded phone interview Also known as door-stepping

Dinkus: A small drawing or symbol used to decorate a page, break up a block of type or identify a regular feature in a newspaper.

Doorstop, or Ambush: When a reporter or group of reporters interview someone as they leave a building, often unexpectedly.

Donut: A television interview in which the presenter hands over to a journalist on location who interviews guests before handing back to the presenter in the studio. CNN, BBC, Fox, NDTV, CNN-IBN do that

Double-ender: It refers to an interview between a presenter in the studio and a guest in a location somewhere else

Downtable sub: A sub-editor who works under the direction of more senior sub-editors

Dummy, Flatplan, or Layout: The template design of a newspaper page. Theterm also refers to the draft plan of how stories, pictures and other elements are to appear on the finished page of a newspaper or magazine.

Dump: You are in the middle of an interview, or talking to a caller on the phone and you decide to wrap up the talk. You simply ‘dump’ the call.

Editorialise: A derogatory description for writing in a highly-opinionated manner

Freesheet, sometimes derogatorily “Freeshit”: A usually cheaper publication that is circulated free with a larger publication. For instance, YoutNet’s employment journals that are distributed with copies of Nagaland Post, is Freesheet.

Gobbledygook: An extreme form of jargon that sounds as if it makes sense but is either meaningless or confusing. We journalists are goobledygookers.

Graf, or Par (mainly US): Graf is the shortened form of ‘paragraph’ of text

Gregg: A system of shorthand used mainly in the US and associated countries

Grip-and-grin, or The Big Pose (mainly US): It is a derogatory term used among photographers during events when, say, the subjects are expected to shake hands and smile at the camera as a practice

Guerrilla Marketing: That is an advertising ambush. It is a low-cost marketing technique involving the use of surprise or shock to promote a product or service. It interrupts a consumer to pay special attention (pop up ads in websites or an unscheduled product announcement in TVs are a good example).

Gutter: A vertical margin of white space where two pages meet

Gutter journalism: A derogatory term for media houses that use sensational reporting without concern for the harm it will do individuals

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