Disclaimer

    For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of a hitchhiker’s guide, or who do not understand sarcasm, the primary purpose of this website is humor or parody. While the information here can and should be informative, it should also be taken with a rather large grain of salt.

    Should you find anything in this guide that you disagree with or in fact know to be false, please do remember the golden rule first laid out in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “The Guide is definitive. Reality is frequently inaccurate.”

Terms and definitions

Gatekeeper

Traditionally, one of the roles of an editor in journalism has been to serve as a gatekeeper. The idea being that there is misinformation, fakery and gossip standing at the gates just waiting to infiltrate the newsroom and thereby pollute the larger society. Prior to the Internet, the gatekeepers were grizzled veteran editors who did… read more »

Hard News

In journalism, hard news often refers to stories about local government, city council and county commission votes, stories about the school system, and political stories. In other words, hard news is comprised mostly of the stories Americans refuse to read or watch, in favor of what is often called “soft news” like stories about the… read more »

Said

“Said” is by far and away the most perfect and sacred word in all of Journalism. According to the Associated Press, every print editor in the world, and all serious journalists, this is the only way one should indicate that a source has spoken. A true journalist would rather lose his recording device of choice… read more »

Claims

The word “claims” is often used by journalists to indicate a statement made by a source that is either patently and provably false, or that cannot be verified by a journalist. While in some cases the statement cannot be verified because it is simply not something that can be proven, more often than not, the… read more »

Chyron

The chyron is also known as the “lower third,” as in the lower third of a television screen during a news broadcast. Legend has it that some self-proclaimed genius executive at a cable news network decided viewers wouldn’t mind losing this screen real-estate and that it would be better used for trite headlines. The original… read more »

Journalism

In the 21st century, journalism is often defined by what it isn’t, rather than what it is. This is, sadly, the case for many professions that are not widely esteemed by the general public. Journalism is further complicated by the fact that there are more breeds and types of it than living creatures in a… read more »

Breaking News

“Breaking News” is by-far the most over-used term in all of professional journalism. Initially, this phrase meant either a story was “breaking” into a non-news broadcast due to its importance, or that the news organization reporting the story was the first to report it. The phrase connotes a sense of urgency and at first only… read more »

News

One would think the definition of news would be rather cut-and-dry. One who thinks that would also be quite wrong. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word “news” as “newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent events.” However, this is not nearly nuanced enough to encompass the ever-changing landscape of news. Prior to the… read more »

The Press

Not to be confused with an actual printing press, the phrase “The Press” refers to reporters, editors and other journalists who report the news. Those who like to occupy their days disparaging “the media” probably intend to be disparaging “the press” but lack the historical context and vocabulary to disparage the proper group. The press… read more »

Hyperlocal

Hyperlocal is largely a marketing term used by regional news organizations in an attempt to appear more localized than regional. When not being used as a marketing term, hyperlocal means coverage of a very specific local area at the expense of the region around it. Large cities such as Chicago or New York may have… read more »

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