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Industry terminology

Some of the terms frequently used by professionals in news media and advertising

All industries have their lexicon and jargon, and the world of news media and advertising is no different.

Here’s a list of some of the terminology you might encounter:


Agate line: Space for one line of print (one column wide and 1/14 inch deep) used to measure advertising.

Banner ad: Ads that run horizontally on a page of a publication or website.

Bleed: An area of an ad that runs beyond the margin of a normal printed page.

Blogs: Short for web log, it is maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order.

Broadsheet: Newspaper format with two folds, usually larger than tabloid.

Bulk distribution: Multiple copies of a publication delivered to the same addressee.

Centre spread: Two facing pages in the centre of a magazine or newspaper.

Circulation: The total number of copies of the newspaper distributed in one day.


Circulation will be determined by factors such as target market, budget and printing facilities avaliable (Image: Unsplash) 


Click through rate (CTR): Obtained by dividing the number of users who clicked on an ad by the number of times the ad was delivered (impressions).

Column inch: The depth of a column measured in inches

Co-op advertising: An arrangement between a manufacturer and a retailer whereby the manufacturer will reimburse the retailer in part or full for advertising expenditures.

Cost per thousand (CPM): Used in comparing the cost of different advertising options. It is the amount an advertiser pays for one thousand advertisement impressions. In the case of newspapers, it cost by circulation or number of readers. For broadcast, it the CPM of homes and people reached using average audience.

Designated Market Area (DMA): A media market or region where the population can receive the same newspaper, internet, television or radio offerings. Widely used in audience measurements.

Display advertisement: In print media, any advertisement other than a classified ad.

Four-colour process: A printing process that combines differing amounts of each of four colours (red, yellow, blue & black) to provide full-colour.

In the four-colour process, all the colours you see are made up of different amounts of these four inks (Image: Unsplash)


Frequency: The average number of times an audience member is exposed to a medium.

Gatefold ad (or Spadea / Spadia): A page folded around a newspaper or magazine covering part of the front page and part or the entire back page.

Gross rating points (GRP): A measure of the exposure of an ad; reach x frequency.

Gutter: The margin between facing pages where the fold lies.

Impressions: The number of times a web page has been viewed by a user.

Island ad: An ad surrounded by editorial content on a printed page.

Leaderboard: Online ad usually 728 x 90 pixels.

Linage: Refers to the size of an ad, based on the number of lines of type taken up by the ad.

Masthead: Part of a page devoted to the official heading/name of the publication, usually positioned at the top of the page.


Mastheads (the name of the publication) can usually be found on the top of the front page of the newspaper or magazine (Image: Unsplash) 


Modular advertising: Pre-determined ad sizes, which work in synergy with the publication’s editorial to provide a cleaner layout.

NIM: Newspaper Inserted Magazine.

Page impression: The number of times a web page has been viewed by a user.

Rate card: Information concerning advertising costs, mechanical requirements, issue dates, closing dates, cancellation dates, and circulation data, etc.

Rating point: In television, one percentage of all TV households who are viewing a particular station at a given time. In radio, one percentage of all listeners who are listening to a particular station at a given time. Both instances vary depending on time of day.

Reach: Number of individuals an ad is exposed to over a specific period of time.

Run-of-press / Run of paper (ROP): Advertising that appears printed within the newspaper (as opposed to the inserts).

Skyscraper: A tall ad (e.g. 120 x 600) appearing on the right or left side of a webpage.

Spec Ad: A preliminary layout showing illustrations and text for a proposed ad.

Tabloid: A newspaper format, folded once, usually smaller than a broadsheet.

A tabloid newspaper is smaller in size than broadsheet, so can be easier to read (Image: Unsplash)


Tearsheet: A page (actual or electronic) from a magazine or newspaper that is sent to the advertiser as proof of the ad insertion.

Total Market Coverage (TMC): One hundred percent household coverage within a given area.

Unique user: Distinct user to a website identified by IP address.

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