AD RATES—The rates charged by individual media outlets to advertise in their publication or on their station.

ASSIGNMENT EDITOR—Staff member of a television or radio news team responsible for judging appropriateness of story ideas assigned to reporter for coverage.

BLOG – Literally short for weblog or an online journal. Created by pundits and people who want to express their opinions online.

BOILERPLATE—A brief paragraph stating who you are, what you do, and how you do it, usually used as the last paragraph in a news release.

B-ROLL—Stock footage used by television news stations that includes background information for a story; b-roll is typically filmed using Beta instead of VHS because Beta is used by most TV stations due to its higher broadcast quality.

BEAT—The type of news covered by a particular reporter; such as education, health care, the environment, or city government.

BRIDGING—The process of answering an interviewer’s question by transitioning it into a message that the interviewee wants to discuss.

CLIP OR CLIPPING—A story cut from a publication or a segment cut from a video or audiotape.

EDITORIAL CALENDAR—A calendar that lists specific topics that will be covered by a particular media outlet for each issue. Although developed with advertisers in mind, the calendar helps public relations practitioners plan their messages to fit within the general context of the piece.

EDITOR’S NOTES—Wording found in press releases and other materials that are not a part of the main message of the document, but serve to alert the media when they should release the information, where the story came from, where the document ends ,and if it is continued on a second or third page.

FACT SHEET—One- or two-page document that describes an organization’s principles, services,and philosophy. This includes the organization’s address, telephone, fax, and email as well as a map to provide reporters with information.

FEATURE—A long, probing article or story (as opposed to an “objective” news item or account). Magazines and newspapers may have a features department or desk.

GRASSROOTS DISTRIBUTION—Asking for help from volunteers and local community members for the distribution of flyers and brochures about events and organizations.

HOOK—The main news element of a story. Sometimes organizations look for hooks when attempting to increase their visibility by finding a connection between their spokesperson/organization director and the topic being discussed, and then contact the reporter to get them included in the story.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR—Your opportunity to congratulate, discuss, or criticize an article you have read. These are submitted to print publications in a timely manner, are typically short, and refer to the original article that caused you to respond.

MASTHEAD—The list of editors, publishers, and senior reporters in each publication’s issue—it includes an address and telephone number and can be found on the editorial page in newspapers and in a standard location in magazines.

MEDIA LIST—List of appropriate outlets to contact created for a specific organization or issue.

NEWS PEGS—Dates around which to pitch stories. These can be internal (Library Card Sign-Up Month) or external (Labor Day).

PITCH LETTER—Letter written to introduce a source and story idea to a member of the media.

PITCHING—Encouraging the media or a blogger to report on a story; a pitch letter is often sent to spark their interest. However, pitching by telephone to follow up is typically needed for a reporter to take notice.

PRESS KIT—A collection of related information to provide the media with background on a particular organization or event.

PUBLICITY VALUE—The unscientific approach to calculating the worthiness of the media’s coverage.To calculate, multiply the price of a column-inch times the length of your story. For example, if the publication says that an ad costs $100 per column inch and your story is seven inches long, the publicity value is $700. Public relations generated media coverage carries with it an implied third-party endorsement and added credibility since it is not a paid advertisement.

REACH—Geographic area of the audience and the number of readers/circulation, listeners or viewers who can access the media in any region, city or state where the publication or station is located.

ROUND-UP STORY—Story geared to look back at what has happened over a specific period of time, such as the previous year or quarter; a story in which a reporter typically wants several opinions on a subject.

SPIN—Jargon for the point of view or bias the source works to create a story.

SYNDICATED—Report that appears in more than one media outlet simultaneously, such as the “Dear Abby” column, or one written by a columnist for a specific newspaper or chain of papers.

WIKI—Wikis are collaborative websites whose content can be edited by anyone who has access to them. An example of a Wiki site is, which is a free and collaborative encyclopedia consisting of volunteer-created content.

WIRE SERVICE—Wire services should not be confused with wires (such as the Associated Press). Wire Services are a pay services, like PRNewswire, that allow you to post your press releases, and the services then mass distributes the press release to hundreds or thousands of journalists, based on criteria you select. It’s a good way to get out national news to hundreds of outlets at a time—but it’s less effective for local news.

WIRES—Wires are independent news organizations that provide dispatches to multiple papers or broadcast organizations. Common services include the Associated Press (AP), Reuters, and the United Press International (UPI).