Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Talk the Talk: Writer’s Jargon

Background Info—Information given to a reporter to explain more about the situation and details of a story.

Pull Quote—A hot-button quotation from an article displayed separately, often in larger type, as a way to highlight it on the story page.

Slug or Slug Line—The label or name given to stories when filed.

Tweak—To edit a story. Also called finessing or massaging.

Head or Hed: Slang for headline.

Masthead—The page of a publication that gives its staff and editorial information.

Pitch or Query—Story/Book proposals/ideas of various page lengths sent to an assigning editor or literary agent.

Kill—To cancel or delete a story.

Tearsheet or Clip—A term for a sample of a writer’s published work. It's named for the tearing of the published work out of the newspaper or magazine, and is usually sent to a queried publisher/editor.

Slushpile—A pile (often located in or near the trash bin) for unsolicited manuscripts to a publisher/editor.

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