Writers Guide to the Lingo: Part 2

As you become a Freelance Writer, you will start to find yourself surrounded by an array of jargon and ‘lingo’ that is the first language of magazine staff and editors.

Here are 10 more terms, in alphabetical order, that you might benefit from being aware of:

  • BEAT:  Your ‘beat’ is the topic area for which you always cover within a magazine (i.e. health, news, beauty, etc.). Short articles/copy that appear in

  • COVERLINES:  Catchy phrases that appear on the cover of magazines in order to attract readers.

  • DISPLAY TYPE:  Those sections of the main text that are pulled out and quoted in larger type

  • INVENTORY:  If your article has been completed and paid for, but has not yet been published, it becomes part of the magazines inventory.

  • MASTHEAD:  The official list of magazine staff, including editors of different sections, contributors, designers, etc.  The masthead provides a comprehensive list of everyone who helped get the publication together.  It can usually be found within the first few pages of a magazine.

  • PULL QUOTE:  An eye-catching sentence that is pulled from the main text to draw the reader in or break up large amounts of text.

  • SLUG:  The titles of columns or sections that appear regularly in a magazine.

  • SLUSH PILE:  When your pitch letter or full article is not read straight away, it is usually placed on the ‘slush pile’ for later reading.

  • STET:  If you receive a hard copy of your article back from an editor, you may find ‘stet’ written next to some text that has been crossed out.  This means to ignore the crossing out and consider the text as it originally was.

  • WELL:  The centre of a magazine is called its ‘well’ or ‘feature well.’

I hope readers have found these useful.  My next blog will be looking at the various job roles within the magazine world, so that you can identify the best people to contact.


Categories: Writing/Publishing


4 replies

  1. I think the bottom of the slush pile is where I often end up!

  2. I think many of us can relate to that feeling, Sally :0) I suppose at least the slush pile is better than the bin!

  3. Hi Nicola,
    I came via Sally’s blog. Useful information, thanks. P.s. you’r blog design is same as mine.

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