Date: Thu, 23 May 1996 04:23:17 -0700

From: Crissie Trigger crissiet[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]IX.NETCOM.COM

Subject: Re: newspaper lingo


Some interesting stuff from the BONG Bulletin

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Stephen G. Bloom, ex of Los Angeles Times and

Dallas Morning News now professing journalism at the University of

Iowa, did a dandy piece for The American Editor on newsroom

jargon. Yes, "30" translates from telegraphic code XXX, meaning

the end. Stringers were paid by story length, measured by a

string at the editor's desk.

PI (pronounced pee eye), lede, hed, graf, folo and TK are

deliberate misspellings so they won't get into print. Lede is

copy, lead is metal. Bloom didn't mention it, but even now old-

timers are edgy about using "lead" unless it's a story about

leading a band or a drill team. Wood is the big headline, often so

big that wooden type was used.

Cereal spitter was a gory photo, especially for ayem papers'

breakfast readers. Bloom suggests that some editors now use what

they call the "Wheaties test," not to cull boring shots but to

encourage something called good taste. It's the clearest proof

that times have changed.

Spike was the nail where bad stories went. Slug is a story's

name, originally cast in a line of Linotype metal. Lobster shift,

describing the overnighters, has a varied etymology. Bloom says

morning is lobster-catching time, bad lighting makes for red eyes.

The tale of Hearst's New York World being near the lobster boat

piers and both kinds of crews going to work simultaneously isn't

mentioned. Lob shift is a term virtually unknown outside

newspapering. Lobstermen don't even use it. Maybe they say

Grumpy printers with red noses from drinking on their way to work



The world's foremost expert in newsroom atmosphere, BONG Chief

Copyboy Charley Stough, Dayton Daily News, 45 S. Ludlow St.,

Dayton, Ohio 45401 tosses a rose to NYTNS bloodhounds worldwide.

E-mail copyboy[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Phone (513) 225-2445 after 3 p.m.

eastern. Fax 225-2489.