It was once called reporting, the idea of spending days, weeks or maybe even months researching a story in depth. It didn’t mean a quick Google search and a few emails.
It always involved the acronym GOYA — Get Off Your Ass! — as in, yes you actually have to leave the newsroom and the building.
But today such a story — like this recent, excellent one in Fortune about the collapse of the Deepwater Horizon — is called a “deep dive”.
Having been a print journalist for a few decades, one of the things I enjoy is our own little lexicon, the shorthand many of us use as we roam from newspaper to magazine to television to radio to blogging. Just as doctors have their words (GOMER = Get Out Of My Emergency Room), we too have a vocabulary of our own.
My sweetie, a career photographer and now a photo editor for The New York Times, speaks this language as well. We can have conversations that might be pretty unintelligible to a non-journo!
For your amusement:
Lede The opening paragraph of a story
Kicker The final paragraph of a story
Nut Graf The central argument for why this story matters
TickTock A recounting of how a major story unfolded
Deck In magazines, the short abstract that tells you what the piece will be about
Hed The headline
Coverlines The teasers that are meant to make you pick up a magazine: “Ten Days To Thinner Thighs!”
Masthead The listing of the publication’s senior staff; sometimes all of them
Above the fold Where the most important stories land in a newspaper, above where it’s folded in half in a broadsheet
Broadsheet A newspaper that unfolds, like The New York Times
Tabloid A smaller paper like the New York Post; tabs are usually more downmarket in tone and content than broadhseets
Berliner A paper whose dimensions lie between a broadsheet and tabloid, like Le Monde
The wood The entire front page of a tabloid, given to the biggest stories
Agate The tiny credit at the edge of a photograph naming the photographer and/or agency
The budget The daily list of every story planned for the day’s paper, which may change as the news does, delineating how much space each will get
Dress page The front page of a section
Byline The reporter’s name…i.e. By….
Dateline The location from which the story was filed (confusing, no?)
Curtain-raiser A story that leads into an event and previews it
Puff piece An uncritical story
Hatchet job The opposite of a puff piece!
TK Short for “to come” — I don’t have that information yet but will fill it in later
Phoner A phone interview
Presser A press conference
Flack A public relations representative
Hack/Hackette In the U.K., a journalist, male or female
Sub-editor In the U.K., a copy editor who fixes errors and grammar after the story is written by the reporter
Bulldog The earliest edition of a daily paper, which may have five editions a day
Slug What a story is named, in one word or two, as it moves through the news system
Heave A story that goes on and on and on and on…
Thumbsucker Often, a Time cover story, like “Does God Exist”
FOB In magazines, the front of the book, where smaller items run
The well In magazines, the main part of the publication, where longer features run
What’s some of the jargon your profession or industry uses?