Glossary of journalism

This glossary of journalism is a list of definitions of terms and concepts used in journalism, its sub-disciplines, and related fields, including news reporting, publishing, broadcast journalism, and various types of journalistic media.

A Edit

advocacy journalism
A type of journalism which deliberately adopts a non-objective viewpoint, usually committed to the endorsement of a particular social or political cause, policy, campaign, organization, demographic, or individual.[1]
alternative journalism
A type of journalism practiced in alternative media, typically by open, participatory, non-professionalized, non-commercial, and non-hierarchical media organizations. Precisely what is labeled alternative journalism has changed over time, but implicit in the genre is a rejection and critique of the practices of mainstream journalism, such that alternative journalists may perceive themselves as working to different values and ethics, covering different stories, giving access to a different cast of presenters and sources, or operating as a form of watchdog on mainstream media.[1]
Another name for a newsreader, used primarily in the United States.[1]
anonymous source
Associated Press (AP)
The world's largest independent news agency, supplying news services for a fee to media around the world.[2]
An instruction to a reporter to cover an event.[3]

B Edit

B copy
The bottom section of a story in a periodical, written ahead of the event it describes in order to save time in processing and completing the story before the publication deadline.[3]

Also called a streamer.

An extremely large headline stretching across the width of a page, usually at the top.[2]
beat reporting

Also simply beat.

Another name for the caption of a photograph.[2]
broadcast journalism
breaking news

Also late-breaking news.

1.  A news story that has only very recently occurred and is newly reported, especially in broadcast journalism, and which a broadcaster may decide warrants the interruption of scheduled programming or other news in order to report it. Breaking news is often covered live and updated as a running story.
2.  The most significant news story of the moment.
3.  A story that emerges or unfolds unexpectedly, as opposed to a diary story.[1]
A short, amusing story.[3]
An organized collection of news stories broadcast on radio or television at a regular time as part of a news cycle; a bulletin may also include reporting on sports, the stock market, weather, etc. See also newscast.[2]

Also by-line.

The name of the journalist who has written a particular story, printed at the beginning or the end of an article. A byline may include additional information after the name indicating the journalist's official occupational title or contact details, and sometimes a photograph of the journalist.[1]

C Edit


Also called a cutline.

1.  Explanatory text placed below or beside a photograph, map, graph, or other form of graphic, in order to describe it and identify the photographers, creators, and/or owners.[1]
2.  In a television broadcast, a piece of text superimposed at the top or bottom of the screen that describes what is being shown, often the name of the person speaking and/or additional details about the reporting location or the source of the footage.[2]
chequebook journalism

Also checkbook journalism.

The practice of paying the participants in a news event a large sum of money for the exclusive rights to their story, as a means of gaining an advantage over journalistic competitors.[2]
A type of journalism that relies on recycling press releases and agency copy to fill newspaper pages or news bulletins, and which involves little or no independent reporting or attempt at verification.[1]
citizen journalism

Also called participatory journalism and networked journalism.

Any form of reporting on current events that is practiced by people outside the established media who are not professionally trained or formally employed as journalists but whose writing or other media output may contain journalistic elements. The term has most often been applied to bloggers and user-generated contributions to mainstream media, but has also been used to describe various forms of alternative media and community journalism.[1] See also amateur journalism.
CNN effect
cod byline
The use of a fictitious name for a byline, giving the impression that an article has been written by a member of the publication's staff when in fact it has been supplied by a news agency.[1]
cold type
1.  A vertical block of text on a page, separated by margins and/or rules. Newspapers are commonly divided into visible columns.[2]
2.  A regular story or feature in a periodical, often on a specific topic and written by the same person, known as a columnist.[2]
Written material intended for publication, as opposed to photographs or other elements of a publication's layout.
copy editing
1.  A reporter who sends news to a newspaper office or broadcast headquarters remotely, i.e. from outside the office or headquarters.[3]
2.  A person to whom a letter or document is written or addressed, or with whom an interview is conducted.
crony journalism
Reporting that ignores or treats lightly negative news about the friends of a particular reporter.[3]

Also cross-head.

A word or short phrase in larger type used to break up long columns of text, often a fragment of a strong quote from the paragraph which follows.[2]
curtain raiser
A story written before a predicted event, setting the scene for when it happens. Such stories are often used at the start of election campaigns, sporting competitions, etc.[2]
See caption.

D Edit

data-driven journalism
A line preceding a written news story that lists the name of the city, town, or general location from which the story is reported and sometimes the date, particularly for stories that are not considered local for the publication, i.e. reported from a distant location.[3]
dead air
An extended unwanted silence that interrupts a radio or television broadcast, during which no audio or video program material is transmitted, usually caused by technical or operating errors.[2]
The time set by the editor or producer by which a reporter must submit a finished story;[2] the cut-off point for the completion of a story before it is published.[1]
1.  An individual row or line of type in a headline, e.g. a three-deck headline is set in three lines of text.[1]
2.  A sub-headline positioned below the main headline and describing a key part of the story.[2]
delayed drop

Also called a delayed intro or drop intro.

An introduction to a story that does not make it immediately obvious what the story is about or what the main angle might be. It is used for effect, often in humorous stories.[1]
digital doorstepping
The journalistic use of online social media to obtain the kind of information that in earlier eras would have required direct personal contact with the source, either face-to-face or on the telephone. The practice may include passive lifting of information, comments, or pictures from public social media profiles as well as direct requests for information or comments via social media.
digital journalism

E Edit

editorial independence
A concept in journalistic ethics holding that journalists ought to be able to conduct their work without coming under undue influence to provide coverage tailored to suit the commercial interests of proprietors or advertisers.[1]
To write in an opinionated and subjective manner, as in an editorial.[2]
A paragraph presented after the end of an article, usually in a different type, giving additional information about the writer of the article, or, in the case of a review, the details of the publication or performance being reviewed.[2]

Also in plural: errata.

A story that a reporter or publication has obtained to the exclusion of the competition; a story to which only the reporting publication has access.[3]
explanatory journalism
A piece of investigative journalism that uncovers and makes public some form of allegedly scandalous behavior.[1]

F Edit

The factual quality of a piece of journalism.[1]
A story emphasizing the human or entertaining aspects of the situation it covers; a news story or other material that is highlighted as a special-interest piece or otherwise differentiated from straight news.[3]
Fifth Estate
Five Ws
Fourth Estate
freedom of the press

G Edit

gonzo journalism
An abbreviation for paragraph.[3]
A vertical margin of white space where two pages meet, such as in the crease of a book or newspaper.[2]
gutter journalism

H Edit

hard copy
Copy that is printed on physical paper, as opposed to soft copy, which exists in digital form.[2]
hard news

Also called straight news.

Spot news; live and current news, especially stories covering serious events or mundane but important topics, as opposed to soft news and features.[3]

Also head.

1.  A word or short phrase displayed in large type at the top of a written article, designed to summarize the news contained within the article and/or attract the reader's attention and provoke them to read it. See also banner.
2.  In broadcasting, a brief summary of an important story that will follow in full detail in the bulletin or main newscast. Closing headlines may also be used at the end of a bulletin.[2]
A way of combining and/or centralizing editorial functions designed to break down traditional demarcations within a news organization, permitting many editors of distinct journalistic departments to work more closely together than they would by running their own separate divisions.[1]
human interest story
A news story or feature, or an angle on a story, that tends to emphasize the emotion, drama, tension, struggle, joy, despair, triumph, or tragedy of people's lives, usually by focusing on individual people and the effects that specific issues or events have on them, or by covering unusual and interesting aspects of people's lives which are not particularly significant to society as a whole. Human-interest stories are not restricted to soft news, and in fact are often used to interest an audience in hard news by exploring individual case studies as a means of illustrating wider trends or statistics.[1]

I Edit

1.  Additional text inserted into a story after it has been written, usually to provide additional details.[2]
2.  Any material placed between copy in a story.[3]
3.  Another term for audio used to illustrate a radio report.[2]
inverted pyramid
investigative journalism

Also called investigative reporting.

Any technique used to unearth information that sources often want to hide.[3]

J Edit

The production and distribution of reports on current events based on facts and supported with proof or evidence, practiced by professional or amateur journalists. Common types of journalistic media include print, television, radio, and the Internet.
jump line
A line of type at the bottom of an incomplete newspaper or magazine article which directs the reader to another page where the story is continued. The term may also refer to the line at the top of the continued article indicating the page from which it was continued, also called a from line. See also spill.[2]

K Edit

A way of setting printed type so that the space between immediately adjacent characters is adjusted to appear uniform, at the same time reducing the amount of horizontal space they require.
1.  An entertaining, amusing, or offbeat story used to balance a page or bulletin of otherwise serious news.[1]
2.  The first sentence or first few words of a story, set in larger type than the main body text, or the first word or two of a photo caption, set in uppercase type distinct from the rest of the caption text.[1]
3.  A strap above and slightly to the left of a main headline.[1]
4.  An ending that finishes a story or bulletin with a climax, surprise, or punchline. See also tailpiece.[2]

L Edit

See editorial.
leading question
A question phrased in such a way as to draw out a specific answer desired by the questioner.[2]
legacy media
letter to the editor

M Edit

mass media

Also called a publisher's imprint.

The name of a newspaper presented in large print on its front page, typically incorporating a distinctive font or other form of graphic design to allow for instant recognition of the brand. The display of a publication's name and logo above the leader column or the top of a website homepage may also be called mastheads.[1]

N Edit


Also called a masthead.

news agency
A commercial organization that sells stories, photographs, or other journalistic products to the news media and which carries out reporting tasks on behalf of media clients. The Associated Press is an example.[1]
news aggregator
news bureau
news cycle
The period of time that elapses before one news story or set of stories is replaced by another. Historically, news cycles have often been based on the publication deadlines of daily newspapers, typically lasting 24 hours, but for much of the public has continually decreased in duration with the emergence of radio, television, the Internet, and social media, such that cycles of definitive length have largely been supplanted by rolling news.[1]
news hole
The amount of space available daily for news in a newspaper, after advertising etc.
news media
news presenter

Also newsreader, newscaster, news anchor, anchorman, anchorwoman, or simply anchor.

A person who reads or presents news during a news program on television, on the radio, or on the Internet. News presenters are often also working journalists, assisting in the collection of news material and providing commentary during the program.
news values
The qualities or criteria that journalists consider when assessing whether a story, event, development, or opinion is worthy of preparing and presenting as news. The process of determining what constitutes news may be complex and involve the weighing of a wide range of factors, including public interest, timeliness of the topic, reliability of the source, and the number of resources required to cover the story.[2]
A news bulletin broadcast on radio or television, or a broadcast-style bulletin that can be viewed and/or listened to online.[1]

Also news desk.

The command center of a newsroom, presided over by a news editor and any deputies, from which reporters are given assignments and instructions on how to cover the news and to which they must in turn report. The term may also be used to refer to a virtual newsdesk, existing only online, rather than a physical desk.[1]

Also called a noddy headshot.

A brief cut-away shot of a television reporter or interviewer nodding his or her head while listening to an interviewee's answer. Where there is only a single camera, noddies are often filmed after the interview ends and then edited into the finished piece to break up long shots during which only the interviewee is speaking.[2]

O Edit

off the record
A story or publishable piece of information discovered through a journalist's own observation, investigation, initiative, or communication with contacts, as opposed to diary stories, which are generally predictable, publicly accessible events. Off-diary stories tend to be highly prized as they help to distinguish one news organization or brand from another.[1]
on the record
online journalism
See digital journalism.
open journalism
A type of journalism that promotes interaction and two-way conversations between the journalist and his or her audience, often accompanied especially by the idea that access to online journalism should not be restricted by paywalls.[1]
open-source journalism
A story written late at night in order to be published in the afternoon newspapers of the following day.[3]

P Edit

pack journalism
A practice in which multiple journalists representing different news organizations, even rival ones, act or work together with a sort of "pack mentality", reinforcing each other's views, approach, and/or actions while trying to provide coverage of the same story or event.[1]
parachute journalism
The sudden emergence of national or international news organizations descending upon a location in order to cover a story rather than maintaining a permanent presence there or engaging local journalists to provide reporting. The term is often used to imply tactless efforts to obtain a desirable news story, in the absence of contextualizing information, respect for locals, or a true understanding of the issues involved.[1]
press release
preventive journalism

Q Edit

The use in a printed story or on television of the exact words spoken by a person, distinguished by quotation marks placed at the start and finish.[2]

R Edit

A measure of the potential size of an audience for a particular publication, program, or website, as opposed to a measure of the actual number of people reading, watching, or listening to it.[2]
The right-hand page of a newspaper or periodical. Contrast verso.
reporters' privilege
rolling news
News that is broadcast on a continuous basis rather than being confined to specific bulletins.[1]
running order
A list from first to last of which stories will feature in a broadcast news bulletin. Changes are sometimes made at the last minute, or even after the broadcast has begun.[1]

S Edit

satirical journalism
shield law
Any legislation designed to protect reporters' privilege by preventing a journalist from being compelled to reveal the identity of an anonymous source who has been promised confidentiality. The term is used primarily in the United States.[1]
A short, related story added to the end of a longer one.[3]
A working title given to a story as it proceeds through production but prior to final publication. Normally just one word, slugs are intended to be seen only by journalists and reporters in the office or studio.[1]
soft copy
Copy that exists in digital form as computerized data, as opposed to hard copy, which is printed on a physical medium.[2]
soft news
Any news that is not hard news, typically stories covering topics regarded as inconsequential or light-hearted, or which are reported more for their entertainment value and to balance somber and serious content than because of their importance to public knowledge.[1]
sound bite

Also soundbite.

An individual or organization from whom the information presented in a piece of journalism originates, or to whom a journalist can turn to help confirm the veracity of certain information. Although the majority of encounters between journalists and sources are routine and on the record, some sources may provide information only on an unattributable basis or on the condition of anonymity.[1]
An exciting or widely interesting front-page story given prominence so that people will take notice of the publication in which it is printed.[2]
straight news
See hard news.
See banner.
See vox pop.

T Edit

tabloid journalism
A series of Internet posts on a single topic.[2]
typographical error

Also called a typo or misprint.

A mistake, such as a spelling error, made in the typing of printed or electronic material.

U Edit

underground press
United Press International (UPI)

V Edit

The left-hand page of a newspaper or periodical. Contrast recto.
vox pop

Also called streeters.

A series of short interviews in which members of the public are stopped at random and asked questions by a reporter regarding their opinions on a particular issue or event in order to gauge approximate public sentiment about the issue or event. The term comes from the Latin vox populi, meaning "voice of the people".[2]

W Edit

watchdog journalism
wire service
See news agency.
White text on a black or dark-coloured background; an abbreviation of white on black.[2]

Y Edit

yellow journalism
yellow press

Z Edit


See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai Harcup, Tony (2014). A dictionary of journalism (First ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199646241. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af "Journalism & Media Glossary". The News Manual. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Mencher, Melvin (1997). News Reporting and Writing (PDF). The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Retrieved 12 February 2021.

External links Edit