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What Does That Mean? Glossary of Online and "Old-Line" Journalism Terms

Your Student News Support Staff , Online School Newspaper Support  

attribute - to write the name of source of your information when using a quote, of book, or a part of any copyrighted work.

beat - to cover a particular genre of journalism. (i.e.- Music Journalism or Sports Journalism)

broadcast - communicating near and far using radio and television.

byline - your name, which is printed before or after an article.

closed question - This type of question doesn't help a interviewee to open up! Closed questions usually prompt a person to answer with simple "yes" or "no". But keep in mind that they can be the right questions to ask at certain points in an interview. They help you pin down important information and get a definite answer.

copy - material for a newspaper or magazine article.

cutline - sentences at the bottom of a photo that describe what happened in it, which usually relate to a story. Also called a caption.

deadline - The editor of a newspaper, magazine, or other media outlet sets a deadline. This is the time when they expect an article to be submitted.

draft - Most journalists will write a draft of an article before submitting it. After completing this draft, they will edit their own work for content and mistakes before submitting it to the editor.

editing - the process of reviewing a news story, revising the writing and checking it for mistakes before it is published or broadcast.

editor - a person who edits material for publication or broadcast.

editorial - a newspaper article written by, or on behalf of, an editor, especially one giving an opinion on a well-known issue.

"Execution at Dawn" - These are groups of people lined up against the wall to be shot (with a camera of course)! For large groups, cutlines end up being long lists of people from ‘left to right'.

feature - A feature takes an in-depth look at what's going on behind the news. It gets into the lives of people. It tries to explain why and how a trend developed. Unlike news, a feature does not have to be tied to a current event or a breaking story. But it can grow out of something that's reported in the news.

grammar - the study of classes and functions of words, how words are said, and how words relate in a sentence.

journalism - the business or practice of writing and producing news media.

journalist - a person who writes, edits, or reports for a newspaper, magazine or news broadcast.

leading questions - questions that try to lead an interviewee in a certain direction.

lede (or lead) - the first and most important sentence of the story. It sets up what the story is going to be about.

loaded words - These are words that leave people with a distinct and often negative impression. They can prompt your source to get defensive or to disagree with your question – and that won't help you get an answer to your question!

neutral questions - A neutral question is straight-forward. It doesn't have your opinion in it. You aren't assuming you know the answer already. Your question is clear and gets right to the point. In return, you will probably get an informative answer.

off the record - What people say when they want the information they tell you to be unmentioned. This means that they don't want their names or quotes to be said to anyone or printed in your story.

on the record - The opposite of "off the record". This means that you are allowed to use the person's name and quotes for your story.

online journalism - Stories that are written specifically for the Web instead of newspaper, radio, television or magazine. It can include the use of text, photos, graphics, hypertext, audio and video to tell stories.

open-ended questions - These questions encourage the person to talk and share their thoughts and feelings on a subject. It allows them to tell their own story without much prompting from the reporter.

pack journalism - This refers to large groups of reporters from different newspapers or broadcasting stations who are all after the same big story. You usually find mobs of journalists outside courthouses, city halls, or at the scene of an accident or disaster, to get comments from the important sources. Compare this to a pack of hungry wolves: they're all hunting one thing, the story, but they're all so hungry that they want to move in to get the biggest piece for themselves.

photographs "Grip and Grin" - These are photos of people receiving awards or diplomas, cutting ribbons or passing out cheques. They just do the ‘handshake' pose and smile at the camera.

publish - to produce or release a written work for the public to see or hear.

scrum - The gathering of reporters around a person who is important to a particular story. When a scrum occurs, all the reporters shout questions to the person in an attempt to further their own story. This situation is much more informal then a Press Conference.

source - a person, written article, book, song, video or film from which to get information

syntax - the way that words are put together to make sentences.

Wire - A source of information for Journalists. You may have heard a reporter say that they got their information "off the wire". The wire itself is an up-to-the-minute source of information for other reporters.

wrap-up questions - help you make sure you have all the information you need. You can ask your source questions like this to end the interview and clarify information he has given you during the course of your conversation.


clip - a segment of audio or videotape that's included in a story that is broadcasted on radio, television, or on the Web.

download - to take files from another computer or server for use on your own.

encoding videos - the process of changing video camera footage into digital footage which can be read and displayed by a computer. (i.e.—RealVideo material)

FTP - (File Transfer Protocol) This is a program used to upload files and webpages from a personal computer to a server. After an individual creates a website, they must upload (transfer) this page to a server so that it can be viewed by others.

HTML - (Hyper Text Markup Language) HTML is the lingua franca for publishing hypertext on the World Wide Web. It is a non-proprietary format, based upon SGML and can be created and processed in a wide range of tools from simple plain text editors to sophisticated wysiwyg authoring tools. HTML uses tags like < h1> and < /h1> to structure text into headings, paragraphs, lists, hypertext links and more.

hyperlinks - The text you find on a Web site which can be "clicked on" with a mouse which in turn will take you to another Web page or a different area of the same Web page. Hyperlinks are created or "coded" in HTML. They are also used to load multimedia files such as AVI movies and AU sound files.

hypertext - A system of writing and displaying text that enables the text to be linked in
multiple ways, to be available at several levels of detail, and to contain links to related documents. It refers to a nonlinear system of information browsing and retrieval that contains associative links to other related documents. The World Wide Web uses hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) to provide links to pages and multimedia files.

info-bahn - the information super highway (info, as in information and bahn, as in German for highway).

*.jpeg *.gif - These two file extensions are the most common types of picture files. If you were to scan a picture into a computer yourself, you would need to convert the file to one of these formats for use on a webpage.

Real Video - The format of video files displayed on most Internet sites, such as SNN.

search engine - a program used by an Internet browser to look for specific words and sort them for information.

server - A computer in a network shared by multiple users. The term may refer to both the hardware and software or just the software that performs the service. For example, Web server may refer to the Web server software in a computer that also runs other applications, or, it may refer to a computer system dedicated only to the Web server application. There would be several dedicated Web servers in a large website.

upload - to transfer files from your computer to another computer or server.

web cast - a video or audio broadcast that's transmitted over the World Wide Web.

Adapted from SNN Newsroom.



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