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Media - Television or TV

Television or TV jargon


A video or computer game designed to be an advertisement.


Mixing ads with entertainment to help counter commercial-skipping.


What viewers experience when you fall short of their expectations after over-promoting a story or show.

backdoor pilot

A one-time special or TV movie that has the potential to become a series if it scores well in the ratings.


When a reporter's work is handed off to an anchor or more senior reporter for presentation on-air. Happens on big stories. "I can't believe I got bigfooted by that loser!"


When an aircraft reaches the point of having to return to refuel. "We're 10 minutes from bingo," radioed the chopper pilot to the assignment desk.

black hole

A blank space in a story. Usually an editing mistake. "Yikes, your story just ran with a two-second black hole!"

brady bunch

When a bunch of live reporters are shown on the screen at the same time when introducing a big story.


A station or network's logo in the bottom corner of the screen.


Points of time in a show when ratings are counted. At +20 minutes, for example, a show's second quarter-hour ratings are earned. That's why most TV newscasts air their five-day forecast at +20 minutes or shortly thereafter. "Damn, weather's running short and I'm going to miss my click!" Also, "Did you hit your clicks?"


A digital microwave technology that enables live vans/transmitters to get signals out of obstructed areas, even broadcasting live while moving.

cherry pick (v)

To record a satellite video feed that's booked for someone else. Usually (but not always) done with permission. "Hey, do you mind if we cherry pick your tornado feed?"

clean feed

A video feed without lower-third graphics or bugs. Cable networks always request a clean feed from local affiliates live with breaking news. (Antonym: dirty)


A huge, elbow-throwing gaggle of photographers. Or just any media circus.


Not alone on a story. "We're competitive on this shooting."


Spicing up the presentation of a newscast or show.

content bending

Integrating advertising in a TV show to the extent it begins to influence the show's content. Examples: product placement and guests that pay to be on TV.


A story that airs inside a correspondent's live shot. In local news, it's usually called an insert.


Scrambling to make deadline. (Also crunching)


About to miss a deadline in grand fashion. (Also a career moment)


Ratings demographics. "They won in households, but we killed them in demos."

door knock

Knocking on someone's door unannounced to get an interview. "Go do a door knock on the victim's mother."

double box

An effect with two boxes of video side-by-side. Often used with live shots. (Also called a two box.) For three boxes, it's a triple box. For four, a quad box. "The reporter wasn't ready in the double box."

double clutch

When reporters or anchors start to say something, pause and start over again. Usually because of a botched cue.

double punch

When a photographer accidentally hits the record button twice, so when you think you're rolling, you're not, and vice-versa. "You double punched for half the story!"

drop (v)

To remove a story or segment from a show. (Also drop in -- adding shots to stories fed in from the field. "We need to drop in some aerials.")

effort (v)

To attempt to get something. "We're efforting some aerials."


A story that can be aired anytime, usually on light news days.


To pull a story from a newscast rundown while keeping it ready to drop in at a moment's notice. "We're floating your story until your tape is ready."

full lid

When the White House has no more events, media avails or statements to release for the day. "The White House has issued a full lid for the night." Also, travel lid and photo lid.


The daily, off-camera briefing held by the White House press secretary for regular White House reporters and correspondents.

Google (v)

To run something or someone through Google, the first step in researching anything. "Did you Google him yet?"


Hold For Release (pronounced H-F-R or "heifer") "Make sure we HFR that tape so it doesn't get recycled." or "That story is HFR'd until tomorrow."


A slight pause in live news coverage to allow stations to seamlessly join or break away.


A geographic location where microwave live vans have trouble "getting out" a live shot. (Note a black hole is a blank space in a story.)


The audio loop used by anchors and reporters to hear on-air programming and producer cues. Also refers to the actual earpiece. "Hey, can you turn down my IFB?"

in the gate

What's cued up, ready to feed. "You should see a 5 in the gate."


Combining information with entertainment in a show with little news value.


Filing raw or feed video into a server. "Quick, ingest that tape!"


A package that airs inside a reporter live shot. In network news, it's sometimes called a core.


The intern mindset that they know everything about TV and menial tasks are beneath them. "Can you believe the internitude on that kid who wants to shoot a standup with me in the middle of breaking news?"

JIP (v)

To join in progress. "We're running long, but we can jip 'Extra' if we have to."

kick (v)

To end a newscast with something. "Let's kick with the waterskiing squirrel." (Also a kicker)


Under time in a broadcast. "We're running over a minute light." (Antonym: heavy or over)

look live (n)

A taped reporter stand-up that's designed to give the impression it's a live shot.

media burn

Overexposure to TV, movies or video games so you still see the action after closing your eyes. "Man, I'm suffering from some serious media burn after playing Xbox all night."

meter strategy

Timing and programming a show or newscast (including placement of the commercial breaks) to maximize ratings potential. (See clicks above).

money shot

The critical shot in a big story that will air in every tease for days.


A common newsroom condition of not being able to remember the story you covered two days ago.


A TV news nightmare. The two most common: when you can't get on the air, or you're on the air but can't do anything.

on spec

Calling or shooting something on pure speculation, without any guarantee. "We're heading to the neighborhood on spec."

overnights (n)

Daily ratings reports from Nielsen. Named because they're available the next morning.


A news story tracked by a reporter. "Do you think there's enough on this story for a package?" (Also spot)


The visual velocity of a TV show. Shows with good pacing move quickly and help keep the viewer's attention. "We need to pace up the noon newscast. It's dreadful!"

Pebble Beach

The spot (covered in pebbles) where correspondents go live in front of the White House.

pimp (n) or (v)

Self-promotion inside a newscast, especially the station's website. "Pimp the web poll coming out of the package." (Also plug)

pool (n) or (v)

Having a single reporter, photographer or satellite truck cover a story for distribution to the rest of the networks/stations that qualify. "The governor is pooling his visit to the wildfire."


The feeling you have when you realize the story that you've worked on for over a week is about to get bumped from the show.

quick turn

A story with little time to prepare, usually assigned an hour or two before air. "This is the third night in a row I've had a quick turn!"


Right of First Refusal (pronounced "rofer"). Holding satellite trucks or freelancers protectively without booking them outright. If you "ROFR" a sat truck, for example, you earn the right to book it first. If another client asks for the same truck, you're given the first option of either booking it or giving it up.


Remain Overnight. Usually a written abbreviation when referring to network news crews.

rebase (v)

To move a base of operations. Used most often to refer to a network news crew returning to a home bureau. "Bill will rebase in Los Angeles tomorrow."


Rewind. Applies to tapes, not digital clips. "Rerack that tape, pronto!"


Sound on tape. A sound bite. Pronounced "sawt."


Play-by-play blogging of an ongoing event (usually airing on TV.)


A story's slated position for air. "You missed your slot!"

snipe (n)

A promotional animation that rolls in along the bottom of the screen during a TV show. (For example: "Coming Up: Law & Order" with the animated NBC peacock.)

snoop (v)

To listen in on someone's intercom or audio source. "Hey, who's snooping me?"


A solo journalist. TV reporters who also shoot, edit and even do their own live shots. (Also backpack journalist and one-man-band).


Rolling or recording. "We're speeding on the feed" or "We're at speed."


Usually a commercial or promotion. In network news, a spot is a tracked story. "David Gregory is doing a spot on the tax cut."


To shoot (videotape) something fast. "Spray the scene and feed it back ASAP!" said the assignment editor to the annoyed photographer.


When a reporter appears on camera in a story (not live). Sometimes called a "stand-upper" in network circles.


A camera tripod. Also, sticks up: a live microwave truck with its mast deployed.


Shifting a TV schedule at the last-minute to offer an improved lineup against the competition. Changes may include new start times that overlap the competition's shows -- or renaming the back-half of a newscast to remove it from ratings consideration.

Talking Head

A popular model of videophones (from 7E Communications) used by reporters in the field.

tease (n) or (v)

A promo. To promote something.


A reporter live shot without any tape or full-screen graphics. "Just do a quick thumbsucker!"

TiVo worthy

A TV show worth the hard disc space on your TiVo. "West Wing is certainly TiVo worthy."

track (v) or (n)

To record the voice for a taped story. "Hurry up and track that story so I can start editing."

trash up

To embellish a boring story with nifty effects and snappy video editing. "Don't worry, we'll just trash it up."


What PVR viewers do when they pause, replay or slow-mo live TV. "TiVo counted 40 trickplays during the game."


Video that rolls over an anchor read. Stands for "voice over." (As opposed to a SOT, which is a sound bite.) "Can't believe they broke down my story to a VO."

verbate (v)

To transcribe from audio to text. "I need you to verbate that sound bite and drop it in my script."


A cross between a viewer and a user: A TV viewer who goes online.


Blogging with video clips instead of text.


Live on the air with extensive, uninterrupted coverage of a breaking news story. "They're wall-to-wall on this plane crash."

white balance

When a camera adjusts the color based on the lighting situation. If a photographer forgets to white balance (by pointing at something white and flicking a switch), video can turn out blue or green.


Network satellite feeds (usually of TV shows that have yet to air) intercepted by curious viewers with satellite dishes. "Anyone catch the wildfeed on next week's Buffy?"





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