News vocabulary

Key terms to remember:


The lead is the first paragraph of your story and arguably the most important part of it. Your lead should represent the true essence of your story. A story written in the news format will be focused on the facts – the who, what, when, where, why and how of the situation. The main objective with a news story is to share facts in the most efficient way possible. The true essence of a story written feature style may be more symbolic or emotional, but that doesn’t mean your writing should be wishy-washy. Even a feature lead should be clear and focused – teasing the reader and inviting them to learn more based on the emotional response you just gave them. If you have trouble writing the lead, write the rest of the story first and go back to it, or send it to me and I’ll give you tips on how to improve it.


A slug is a descriptive title for your story, it’s not the headline. Your story and photos should all be saved with the slug, it should be used in the subject of all emails containing the story and it will be used to budget your story. It should be between two and three words. Ex. iPhone vs. Galaxy – DS


In news, the word budget is used to refer to the planning of each edition. Usually one of the editors makes a list of all articles with pertinent information so the designers can plan how many pages that edition will be. Each article on the budget is listed by its slug, the author’s initials, any related art, and projected length.

A budget should look something like this:

Enrollment down w/ action shot – SW (1,000 words)

Peace day advancer w/ poster – MW (700 words)

SGA president w/ head shot – AS (800 words)


A cutline is basically a journalist’s word for caption. It is the description of the photo and should contain the who, what, when and where of the photo.

News release

Most of you are probably already familiar with press releases, but here is a brief description of how we will be using them. We use press releases to get information, their sole purpose is to share the information they contain. However, be cautions because press releases are written with an agenda, which may not always be apparent to the naked eye. Be critical and skeptical and understand what the organization is trying to gain through the sharing of that information. You should use press releases sparingly, and when you have your own original reporting to contribute, otherwise it belongs in our announcements section clearly marked as a press release. We also will be sending our own press releases out as a means to share with the UVI community what we are doing and to promote our site.