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Digital Broadcasting Glossary


General News Terms

Assignment Desk or News Desk: At broadcast bureaus and stations, the staff responsible for dispatching camera crews and reporters to cover news events.

Banner: A print media term for a headline for a story of unusual importance, stretching the entire width of the page.

Break: The time during the show that commercials are played

Copy: Written material that is read over the air.

Cutline: The caption to a picture or other graphic element of a story.

Cutting: Editing tape or film.

Dateline: A line at the beginning of a printed news story or news release giving the place and date of the story’s origin.

Dead Air: A technical error in which no signal is fed for broadcast.

Dub: Most commonly, a copy of a film or tape. It can also mean making a completely new soundtrack, as in dubbing English for a foreign film. A dubbed tape is also called a dupe.

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

Feed: To send a program or signal. For instance, feeding a program from one station via satellite to other stations.

First Generation: The original film or tape. Dubs or dupes are made from it.

Footage: A selection or sections of film already shot.

Green Room: A small room near a broadcast studio in which program guests wait before they are interviewed.

Hot: Usually in reference to a microphone meaning it’s “on.”

In the Can: A show or portion of it that is complete and ready to broadcast. The tape or film literally is in a can.

Lapel or Lavaliere Mike: Smallish microphone attached to a lapel or blouse.

Lead or Lede (pronounced leed): The opening sentence or paragraph of a news story.

Leader or Leader Blank: The blank film or tape used at the “head” or start of a program. Can be used to thread a projector or tape machine so the show can go on the air as soon as the machine starts running.

Mobile Unit: TV equipment used outside the studio, as at a football game.

Mult, Mult Box or Multiplexer: A device, connected to the main microphone at a news event, which individual broadcast journalists or crews can plug or “patch” into, eliminating the need for a forest of mikes at the podium. Each mult unit usually handles 12-24 separate lines.

NATS: Natural Sound – Normally found on channel 2

News Peg: The aspect of a story that makes it newsworthy, important, or interesting. The news peg is often timeliness, wide impact, or effect on community.

Open-Mike: A microphone in use.

Package: A complete story with natural sound and voice over

Pool: A camera crew and reporter(s) assigned to cover a story or event on behalf of all media and to share materials with them. Often used when tight space and security are considerations or when it is unlikely that any “news” will be made.

Rating: The size of the TV audience as measured by the number of TV-equipped households watching. The total U.S. figure is about 92 million TV households, so each rating point equals about 920,000 homes watching. A family with more than one set is counted as one unit. Contrast with Share.

Remote: A broadcast coming from outside the studio.

Reverses: So called because the shot is taken from the reverse angle, for example, from over the shoulder or behind the interview subject, with the reporter in the frame. Used to splice together different parts of an interview. Related to “cover” shots, of an audience at a press conference, for example.

Running Time: How long it takes a show to go from start to finish. Often abbreviated TRT (total running time).

Satellite Tour: A feed from one point of origination to various downlink sites. An example is when an author is plugging a new book and is connected in series with several different interviewers in their newsrooms.

Share: The percentage of televisions actually in use that are tuned to a specific program.

Sidebar: A short accompanying piece for a larger story, often with a human interest angle. Usually blocked off from the main text.

Sitting Mike: A microphone on a table.

SOTVO: Soundbyte is followed by video

Sound byte: any piece of audio handled as an element separate from any video

Spot News: News of immediate interest.

SOT: Sound on Tape – Both Nat and Voice come from tape

Stage Manager: The individual on the set of a studio who cues the participants and otherwise provides liaison with the control room.

Stand Up: A commentary or report by a TV correspondent seen on camera, usually at the scene of the action. Used to open, close, or bridge the elements of a report.

Super: An image superimposed over another image. Often the subject of an interview will be “supered” with identifying information. Also called “titles” or “lower thirds” because of the positioning of words.

Tag Time: Last statement of a show, spot, or commercial.

Talent: The paid staff who are seen or heard on the air, often the interviewer.

Tease: A short clip that “Teases” an upcoming package before the break

VNR: A video new release. The television equivalent of a news release.

VO: Voice Over – Normally found on channel 1

VOTOPS: Video Only – Anchor Speaks over the video. There is usually natural sound on the video