Reporter-speak: Words and phrases PR pros should know

The nomenclature of a newsroom shouldn’t be a mystery. Mastering a few key terms will help you communicate with journalists, while bolstering your credibility among members of the Fourth Estate.

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An account executive recently walked into my office with a look on his face that said he either drank bad milk or his favorite team just lost. He looked at me and nervously asked, “What is a vo/sot?”

A reporter had just responded to one of his client pitches and said he would do a vo/sot on the story. My AE thought he had failed the client when, in fact, the opposite was true. A vo/sot is a good thing, and he realized as much after I explained to him what it meant.

That got me to thinking that this could be a problem for many PR professionals. I had the good fortune of spending more than 15 years in a newsroom as an anchor, but let’s face it, not everyone spends four years of college and a good portion of their life learning about newsroom jargon.

Have no fear—I’ll decode some frequently used terms from newsrooms and what they mean:

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