Publicity Glossary

Approximate read time: 15 minutes

Every niche has its own vernacular…

And that lingo makes it difficult for outsiders to get familiar.

So, let’s discuss some popular terms used in publicity…


A blog or new media or media 2.0 is an online publisher or outlet.  It could ranges from an online newspaper all the way to a Twitter feed.  The difference between new media and old media is the lack of barriers to entry and Tech – need for things to cover, mainstream has volume limits.


A news columnist is a guest author who writes about their opinion point of view or commentary about a topic in the form of an essay or article for a publication or outlet over a period of time as opposed to a once-off piece, which is referred to a guest article or post.  Newspapers, magazines and blogs all have columnists.


An editorial is an opinion piece, point of view or commentary about a topic written by the editorial staff or publisher of an outlet.  These views reflect the opinion of, and align with the agenda of, the outlet rather than an individual. Newspapers, magazines and blogs all have editorials.


Journalism is the work of a journalist.  A journalist goes into the field and collects, analyses, processes, distils, verifies, records, presents, writes and distributes information as news and stories regarding events, trends, issues or people.  Journalism can help shape recorded history, influence agenda and public perception, keep things accountable to the public and inform citizens.

Journalistic Standards

Because journalism can help shape recorded history and inform citizens, journalists have standards and ethics they should adhere to around truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness, factuality, non-partisanship and public accountability.

Mainstream Media

Mainstream media is media that is popular and broad as opposed to niche media with is more obscure.  Because of mainstream media’s large reach, it inherently has influence in society, meaning it can help shape recorded history, influence agendas and public perception, keep things accountable to the public and inform citizens. Mainstream media covers current and political affairs, news, weather, entertainment, business and sport and provides opinion, editorial and columns.

Mass Media

Mass media is, as the title suggests, media that reaches the masses or in other words media that has large audience reach and distribution.  This should not be confused with mainstream media.


The media is the collection of communication distribution tools that deliver news and information to the public.  This could be print – newspaper and magazine; broadcast – television and radio; the Internet– blogs and social media.  Television by nature has a visual narrative; radio by nature has an aural narrative; and print by nature has a text narrative.  Some media are periodical and other are disposable. Media outlets cover information that is important to their reader demographic, whether that is niche or mainstream.


News is information presented about new events happening.  News is what the news industry provides.  The operative word in news in new.  News is news if it is new – meaning not existing before or being seen for the first time or being offbeat or novel.  By and large, news is not news if the same has thing been covered previously in the same way.

News is communicated, broadcast or distributed in different types of ways.  Some common ways are television, radio, newspaper, magazine and more recently (arguably more influentially) Internet blogs and social media.

News Angle

A news angle is the idea or theme of a news story and is described at the beginning of the story.

News Beat

A news beat is a niche area of reporting for which the journalist has domain knowledge or experience, for example, crime, politics or sport.

News Hook

A news hook is the idea or theme what hooks the consumer’s attention so they want to find out more by consuming the full news story.  The hook is the reason to cover a story and it answers the question of “so why is this story relevant or important?”  This could be through the headline or the lead paragraph.  A useful analogy is the use of the clothes hanger.  A clothes hanger is used to hang clothes.  Whereas a news hook hangs the full story and gives the reason for the story.  A hook usually ties in with a news peg.

News Conference

A news conference or a press conference is a media event designed to garner positive publicity or public attention from the media to which brands invite journalists to hear them speak about an announcement, speech or event and to give journalists the opportunity to ask questions.

News Cycle

The news cycle is the lifecycle a news story.  It starts with outlets breaking a story then providing uptakes, followed by discussion until it has lost its timeliness and the new cycle starts again with newer breaking stories.

(24 Hour) News Cycle

The 24 hour news cycle is the news cycle that is occurring all the time allowed by the advent of television, radio, and particularly the Internet, blogs and social media.  The consequence of this is that news outlets are forced to report on news all the time and quickly stay up-to-date for their audience and ahead of their competitors.

News Deadlines

News deadlines describe the timing of when stories are required to be filed for publication.  Print news generally is required by the afternoon before the next day. Radio news by noon for the evening news television programs to pick up.  Blogs can, and do, publish at any time.

News Feature

A news feature is not strictly news, but it does break a story.

News Leak

A news leak is where embargoed or confidential information is disclosed to publications or outlets before it was intended or when it was not intended.

News Outlet

A news outlet is a publication that disseminates news through its own distribution channels.  This could be through the mainstream media such as, television, radio, newspaper, magazine or more recently (arguably more influentially) through the Internet, blogs and social media.

News Peg

A news peg is a news trend that is currently taking place in the news.  A news trend is multiple outlets reporting on the same story. A peg gives rise to a publicity opportunity for a brand to attach its message or cause to.

News Program

A news program or news show is a regular or scheduled program that reports news.  Individual news stories are linked in a series by a news anchor to create a news program.  A news program can be made up of live or recorded interviews by reporters or experts.

News Scoop

A news scoop or breaking news or an exclusive refers to an outlet being the first to report a story, before any other outlet does.  Of course, exclusives almost always have an element of urgency.  Exclusives are never offered to multiple outlets.

News Story

A news story is an account of events.  A story usually has conflict or some sort of change.  In very simple terms, a media story – just like any story – has a plot and characters; characters usually have something to say about the plot and that usually is in the form of quotes.  Have a look around at what you read, see or hear in the news and it will become apparent how these stories have characters that have a perspective.  This human interest element means that readers of the publication can relate to them and their story. A news story also has a beginning, middle and end, but it also has a hook and is timely.  A news story is a single article, segment, news item or feature which covers an event, issue, theme or person.  A breaking news story is something which has just happened and is disseminated immediately. A news story needs to be timely, meaning it needs to be linked to a current or new event or happening – a peg.

News Syndication

News syndication is the process of licensing news content and stories for reuse by other outlets when the licensing outlet does not have the resources to cover stories outside their niche beat.

News Wire

A news wire or a news agency or news service or wire service is a service that distributes news stories or press releases to outlets by gathering news and selling them to subscribing outlets.

Opinion Piece

An opinion piece is an author’s view on a subject or trend published as an article in a newspaper, magazine or blog.  These can be regular or guest pieces by domain experts or people with experience in that area. A regular piece is written by a columnist.  An op-ed or ‘opposite the editorial’ page is a page dedicated solely to that article.

Press Department

A press department is part of an organisation whose function is to communicate with media about the brand through press releases, speeches, news conferences or other means, as well as answering media questions.

Press Kit

A press kit is or media kit is a package of promotional materials about a brand, distributed to media outlets for promotional use.  A press kit includes royalty and copyright free images of and biographical information about the brand and is distributed with a press release or at a news conference.

Public Opinion

Public opinion is the summary of the views among the public.  In general, if something is printed on the public record in the form of news, then prima facie, it is considered fact.  However, news is not necessarily representative which presents a problem; news shapes public opinion and can have a real impact because, if it is believed, it becomes true and can be acted upon with real world consequences.

Public Relations

Public relations is the process of communicating public interest information between a brand and the public in order to create and manage a positive perception about the brand. Public relations is distinct from publicity and use of the media is not required – it is a more holistic and defensive approach.


A publicist or spokesperson or press secretary or press officer is someone who speaks on behalf of the brand, which could also be the person heading the brand.


Publicity is the process of disseminating information to increase public visibility and positive awareness of a brand, usually with the emphasis on leveraging the media through a publicist.  Unlike public relations, publicity is part of a brand’s promotion in their marketing mix.

Publicity Stunt

A publicity stunt is an over-the-top newsworthy event or concept that is planned by a brand designed to attract public attention, awareness and news interest in the brand’s message.  The stunt needs to have congruence with the message – the message and the illustration of the message need to match, otherwise the message link could be lost. The message needs to be memorable, not the event.  Therefore the meaning, concepts, signs and symbols used are the most important part and are what communicate the message.

Sound Bite

A sound bite is a short clip extracted from a longer piece of speech to summarise or promote the full length version to the audience.  Because of its length, a sound bite omits any nuances and therefore can be ambiguous or imprecise.


A tabloid is a media outlet that is defined by sensationalism, shock value, controversy (disgust, shock, anger and fear), gossip, celebrity or junk food news.  It typically has large usage of pictures.

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