Thursday, August 24, 2006

Weird Publishing Abbreviations; Source-Citing

a) Is a FOB the same as a filler? b) When submitting something that pertains to health, do you have cite the source under the written piece?

a) Hmmm, I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "filler," but I'll just do my best to define FOB, and hopefully, that will clear up all of the confusion.

Magazines are divided into several sections - among them, the FOB (front-of-book) section and the feature well. Take out a national consumer magazine. Any one will do. After the letters to the editor and table of contents, you'll come across a group of pages, anywhere from, say 10-50, that are made up of short "articles." I put articles in parenthesis because they're not really articles - they're closer to blurbs, in that they run about 100-400 words each. They're little nuggets that contain spurts of information but not enough to make up a longer story. Often times, they cover recent research reports or focus on new trends. Really - take a look at a magazine, and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

Does that help? A few other funny acronyms that mag folks use:

Lede: well, this isn't an acronym, but it means "lead" or "intro" of a story

TK: "to come," as in "TK Tips on Water Safety"

FC: fact check

Graf: short for paragraph

Round-up: type of article that is a "round up" of quotes and only quotes

Hed: headline of the article, ie, "Magical Weight Loss Secrets."

CQ: checked quote, as in, "this quote has been verified as correct" - often used if a name or word has an odd spelling or if a quote sounds slightly weird

Dek: the few sentences that are below a header. For example, the header might read, "Magical Weight Loss Secrets," and the dek will then say, "You don't have to be David Copperfield to shed pounds. We've whipped up our own pixie dust to help you cut the fat." Or whatever.

Have I missed any?

b) I always cite the source if it's a quote/study/etc that's unique to this person/university/association. It's sound journalism, and provides an expert voice for the story. Now, my editors don't always keep the source in - I assume, most often due to word count - but when I file my story, it will always read, for example, "recent research from the Journal of the American Medical Association states, blah, blah, blah." The only time I wouldn't do this is when I'd interviewed several experts and they all said the same thing. Then, in my mind, it's more common knowledge, and I don't necessarily need to attribute it to a source. Again, for example, I'm working on a story right now on toddlers and sleep. Nearly all of my experts said the same thing about the importance of establishing a routine. So...there's a sentence in the story about the importance of establishing a routine, but it's a paraphrase conglomeration of their advice and not attributed to anyone in particular.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Allison,

I'd love to hear your advice on how best to track down and connect with the right magazine editors. Writers Market? Or searching on the publications website? Also do you always e-mail query? Do you ever snail mail?