Monday, November 15, 2004

The Level of Discourse 1

Like every profession, we TV News people have our own language. Always instructive and usually indelicate, the following terms describe a world of deadlines, crisis and gadgetry. The first in a series...

ANCHOR-PACK: A package that's written usually by someone (ME!) other than the anchor, but the anchor's voice is on it.

BRICK: Camera battery.

DOG LICK LIVE SHOT: A live shot performed at a place and/or time that is fundamentally irrelevant to the story. Spawned by consultants, done by rote. Named for the old joke "Why does a dog lick himself? Because he can."

ELBOW FIESTA : Colorful name for hurried, crowded group interviews. See also GANG-BANGS.

FACE TIME: The amount of time each anchor gets in a show. More calculated than you might think.

FIFTEEN MINUTES: How long assignment editors think it takes to get from one story location to another, regardless of what the map might indicate. Often used in conjunction with the term "just swing by." (Robert Carver)

FLAK: Derisive term for Public Information Officer. See also SPIN DOCTOR, HACK, SUIT, FACE, PEEPS.

FLOAT: What happens to a videotape package that doesn't get finished in time for its scheduled airing (e.g., it "floats" until the producer can slip it in later that block or into the next block). Guaranteed to make producers upset.

FUZZ N WAS: sensational stories involving cops & dead bodies. See also CRIME N GRIME.

More to follow...

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