H is for house style
he use-of-language rule book ensuring consistency where legitimate alternatives exit. Eg ‘ten percent’ or ‘10%’. Also Hardens, an excellent copy-editing reference book.
D is for deadline
, the point in time when writers begin to write. Also dummy copy, random words used to fill columns as a page is designed or laid out. Latin words are often used.
P is for par
meaning paragraph. Also pix meaning pictures. And to piss on chips, that is fundamentally undermine a colleague’s work.
N is for a nun’s chuff
which, according to media myth, is as dry as a very boring story.
S is for spike
a shame-laden repository for unsuccessful pieces of writing.
G is for gash copy
– imperfect editorial used to fill columns because it’s way past deadline. Will be replaced later. Ref also gash pix.
W is for WOB
short for white-on-black. A trick of the design trade where the normal white-on-black style is reversed. Can be used with colours.
X is for exes
aka expense claims, widely credited as being the greatest-ever works of fiction.
R is for reverse ferret
journo-euphemism for a 180-degree change of direct. Often hides realisation of calamitous misjudgement. Also redundo, payments made to journalists who invariably “couldn’t be happier” and were “just about to leave anyway”. Also readers, aka nuisances – especially when they try to contact you.
O is for op-ed pages.
Unread sections of newspapers where rabid egotists outline opinions nobody except themselves are interested in. Carries no advertising because advertisers know how well read the pages are.
M is for monstering
the act of delivering a wholly unjustified tirade of abuse masquerading as feedback from an editor to a writer. Also managing editor, a job where past-it high-up sign journalists’ expenses claims.
T is for tweak
a top-to-bottom re-write of incompetently prepared copy.
K is for kill fee
, a part payment to a writer who submits unusable copy. Akin to a micro redundancy package. After all, the writer won’t be employed by that editor again.
V is for verbiage
J is for journalism
, a profession that is most honourable and a trade that is deeply disreputable. Journalism is also writing that someone somewhere does not want published. The rest, according media lore, is public relations.
Z is for Z
the back end of an overused listicle format, as in ‘Journo-thaurus A-Z’.
C is for copy
as in written editorial content. Also conference, a twice daily meeting at which underlings are ritually humiliated for the sadistic enjoyment of high-ups. Also clickbait: an online article that looks interesting and/or salacious and glamorous but is, in fact, very dull. See fake news.
I is for intro
the all-important first paragraph. Construction may take a writer about half the time it takes to compose an entire article. If it does take that long, it will be time well spent.
L is for layout
aka page design. Also lunch, a bibulous meeting with optional food that old timers still bang on about. Also listicle, and article that is also a list prepared primarily as clickbait.
Q is for query
polite term used by editors meaning ‘Oi, writer, I have no idea what you are driffling on about.’
E is for editor
a newspaper woman or man who is always right even when patently wrong. E is also for emeritus – an honorific added to a job title to ease the pain of upcoming redundancy. According to media myth Rupert Murdoch says that ‘e-‘ stands for ‘exit’ and ‘-meritus’ explains that the recipient thoroughly deserves the heave-ho.
Y is for yacht
B is for bleed
– the extent to which a picture fills a page. A full bleed is where colour is used right the very edge of a page.
F is for fake news.
Lies dressed up as journalism. Also means truth that the rich and powerful would prefer little people did not believe. Also file, as to submit copy.
A is for art director
the she or he responsible for making pages look great. Is usually quite mad.
U is for unemployment
the more accurate description for ‘freelancing’ or ‘working from home.’