-30- at the bottom of press releases
Asked by: nep-ga
List Price: $5.00
18 Oct 2002 13:52 PDT
Expires: 17 Nov 2002 12:52 PST
Question ID: 83212
At the end of press releases and news stories, you often see the number -30-. What does this mean? Why is this used? Where did it come from?
Re: -30- at the bottom of press releases
Answered By: voila-ga on 18 Oct 2002 18:36 PDT
Hi nep! Thanks for the newspaper-related question. I happen to be a print mediaphile from way back. As a child, my mother read us the newspaper instead of bedtime stories. I think she was the original multi-tasker as we never gave the poor woman a moment's peace. Looking back, I think it was her way of grounding us in a healthy dose of cynicism. A very short answer on the meaning of -30-; it signifies to a print editor the end of a reporter's copy. The origins of -30-, however, are in dispute but I'll be happy to supply a few of them and let you make up your own mind. ********** The most plausible explanation is from this website and dates back to the Civil War: http://www.thereporter.com/Current/Forum/forum072802_1.html "According to Webster's New World Dictionary of Media and Communications, the symbol may have come from the use by telegraphers of three X's, also the Roman numeral for 30, to signify the end of a dispatch. Or it may have started as an indication of the number of words in a dispatch. The first press dispatches from Civil War battlefields ended with 30, by then the standard signoff. The symbol also may have stood for the amount of time during which reporters were allowed to use the military-controlled telegraph lines during the Civil War. The "30" at the end of the dispatch told telegraphers at the receiving end that the dispatch was completed and that time was up." ********** This website lists a variety of origins for -30- as they were passed down in newspaper lore. Pick your favorite here: http://web.utk.edu/~gwilson1/30.html ******************************* Additional Links of Interest: ******************************* American Journalism Review: http://22.214.171.124 Journalism Net: http://www.journalismnet.com Tools for Print Journalists: http://www.journalism.org/resources/tools/print.asp Columbia School of Journalism: http://www.jrn.columbia.edu The Slot/How to Become a Copy Editor: http://www.theslot.com/howto.html ************* Nep, I thank you for your question as it gave me a reason to revisit a couple of my favorite writers at Epinions who wrote on this very subject. I bet you'll enjoy their writing style as well. http://www.epinions.com/content_36573843076 (I hope this isn't Mikey's personal -30-.) http://www.epinions.com/content_1128571012 ************** If you had a difficult time locating this information, it may be due to the fact that search engines don't recognize numbers all that well. After re-reading these two pieces at Epinions, and using Google, I found the above information entering: newspaper+editor+reporter+end+30+typewriter So, nep, if you'll give me the 411 plotline on "Winnie the Pooh," we can call this even. ;-) I hope this information has satisfied your curiosity. I must say it's certainly been one of my more enjoyable research projects. If you'd like any further clarification, please don't hesitate to ask before rating my answer. Thanks very much for using our service and do come back again! -30- V
rated this answer:
Thanks very much -- many theories here to think about, I see.
Re: -30- at the bottom of press releases
From: denco-ga on 18 Oct 2002 18:45 PDT
http://www.press-release-writing.com/frequently-asked-questions.htm#28 (and others...) 28. What is the origin of "-30-" at the end of some press releases? The "-30-" is the traditional journalistic closing which probably came to be during the Civil War when telegraphers tapped "XXX" at the end of a transmission, which is the Roman numeral for 30. http://www.writersmarket.com/encyc/t.asp This symbol is typed at the end of a newspaper story to denote the end of that piece of copy. The origin of this practice is unknown, although several stories attempt to explain it. The most popular story places the origin of 30 in the Civil War period when news was transmitted by telegraph. The first message sent to a press association in the U.S. contained thirty words, and so its sender, as was the practice, indicated this with the number 30 at the end. The 30 was retained for all telegraphed news, and eventually, for news stories in general. Other theories reported in William Metz's Newswriting: From Lead to "30," maintain that 30 evolved from the symbol XXX, which was placed at the end of the very early, handwritten news items. The symbol, interpreted as a Roman numeral, became, naturally, 30. Still others have related the origin of 30 to an early typesetting practice that used the symbol to indicate the end of a line; the original Associated Press quota of 30 items per newspaper per day; and a reporter who added his name, Thirtee, to the end of a telegraphed message, which was changed by the telegrapher to 30. Some magazine writers use the symbol 30 to indicate the end of an article; others use three number marks (i.e., # # #); still others simply type The End. http://www.asne.org/kiosk/editor/98.jan/perez1.htm How did news and wire jargon come to be? Author: Louis M. Perez Published: May 21, 1998 Last Updated: May 20, 1999 Book review "Wirespeak: Codes and Jargon of the News Business," $14.95 plus $3 shipping, by Richard M. Harnett, Shorebird Press, 555 Laurel Ave. #322, San Mateo CA 94401 ... One of the more intriguing chapters in the book is on the origin of "30" as the symbol of a storys conclusion. With the departure of paper from our newsrooms, I doubt its much used anymore unless some romantics in our midst have figured out a way to program it to their save-get keys without bringing the system down. While acknowledging that the derivation of "30" cant be proven, Harnett cites Associated Press historians in declaring that the symbol had its beginnings in the numbers code created by telegraph operators. But why 30? Good stories abound. The best ones are hilarious, having their roots, shockingly, in taverns. The more plausible versions, though, are (1) the telegraphers needed a number to end a story and 30 was it, or (2) they used an "XI" to end a sentence, two "Xs" to end a paragraph and three "Xs" (the Roman numeral for 30) to end a story. Search: "origin of -30-" ://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=%22origin+of+-30-%22
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