Journalism Jargon A-D - Andrew Noakes - Motoring Writer


ad/ed ratio

The ratio of the number of advertising to editorial pages in the magazine.


Feature presented in an editorial style, but paid for by an advertiser. Must always be clearly labelled 'advertorial', 'advertising feature' or something similar so the reader clearly understands it is not an editorial article.


Arrangement of text so that the left, right or both margins form a straight line.


The & character, representing the word and.

ascenders descenders


Part of a character which rises higher than the x-height. See my typography video.



The imaginary line on which type sits. Leading is the distance between one baseline and the next. See my typography video.

bastard measure

A section of type set with a measure which does not fit neatly into the layout grid. For instance, on a three-column page a 'normal' measure would be one, two or three columns in width. Anything else would be a bastard measure.


(1) An edge of a picture which runs all the way to the edge of the page.

(2) Amount by which pictures like those in (1) are extended beyond the nominal edge of the page when the page is designed, to account for variations in printing, binding and trimming.

body copy

The main text of a feature.


Panel or sidebar of text alongside the body copy.


Chatham House rule

Rule applied to meetings which allows reporters to repeat information presented, but not to identify the speakers. See the Chatham House website.


Cyan, magenta, yellow, black; the 'process' colours in the normal four-colour printing process.


Text supplied by a staff writer or freelance.


Production process where incoming copy is assessed for suitability.


A small heading within the text of an article.


Computer to film, computer to plate – the two main repro/print methods. CTF produces printing plates from film, CTP is a digital process using PDF files. Today most magazines are printed using the 'filmless' CTP process.



Line of text in a heading – a 'three deck heading' has three lines of text.

ascenders descenders


Part of a character which drops below the baseline. See my typography video.

display ad

Prominent ad using graphics and/or styled text, not a classifed ad.


Dots per inch, a measure of the resolution of an image; usually 300dpi or more is required for print reproduction, 72dpi is acceptable for online images. For more detail, see Digital image sizes for print and web.


Double-page spread.

drop capital

A large capital letter denoting the start of a feature; usually abbreviated to 'drop cap'.


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