How A Newspaper Works

  • Beat — a reporter’s area of responsibility and expertise.
  • Byline — the name of the reporter who writes the story; appears at the top of the story.
  • Cutline — information that goes with photos, including details about the photo and the photographer’s name.
  • Deadline — the time when all work must be completed.
  • Dummy — a preliminary layout showing the positions of photos and text as they are to appear in the publication.
  • Drop head — smaller headlines that fall between the main headline and the story to provide more information.>
  • Folio — the line at the top of each page that tells the day, date, city and page number.
  • Hammerhead — a large and bold short headline placed flush left above a smaller, lighter complete headline positioned flush right.
  • Headline — the large type over a story that conveys the meaning of the story.
  • Insert — an advertisement printed by an advertiser and stuffed into the newspaper.
  • Jump — when a story starts on one page and finishes on another, this is the part of the story on the second page.
  • Masthead — part of the page devoted to the official heading of the publication, and sometimes personnel and policy information.
  • Op-Ed — the page opposite the editorial page; usually provides a forum of views opposite those expressed in newspaper editorials.
  • Pagination — computerized layout and design of the newspaper.
  • Press release — a statement or story prepared for release to the media by an organization, business or government official.
  • Promo — information at the top of the page that leads a reader to an important or interesting story in the paper.
  • Readership — the average, estimated number of readers of the newspaper.
  • Refer — information that leads the reader from one story to a related story elsewhere in the newspaper.
  • Single copy — newspapers sold at dealer and rack locations, stores and newsstands.


The sales of advertising space in daily and Sunday papers and other Herald-Dispatch products is overseen by the advertising department, which is divided into national, classified, retail and creative services.


The news department, headed by the executive editor, is comprised of editors, reporters, photographers, copy editors and graphic artists who provide local, national and international news, sports and features.


The many responsibilities of the systems department include overseeing the entire newspaper’s computer network, maintaining security for all department databases, purchasing and installing software and hardware, providing computer training and monitoring new technology for all newspaper departments.


The market development department helps the newspaper meet its overall goals by monitoring the newspaper’s market, providing business and consumer information to circulation, advertising and news, and developing promotional campaigns for the newspaper.


Newspaper production from pre-press to distribution is controlled by the production department. Employees in the department produce three editions of the daily paper and all special sections and products published by the newspaper.

Human Resources

The human resources department coordinates employment and recruiting for the newspaper, and assists with benefits, training and development and other special programs.


The accounting department oversees all financial functions, including budgeting, capital expenditures, sales forecasts, expense billing, accounts receivable and payable and payroll.


The circulation department ensures that home delivery and single copy sales newspapers are distributed, coordinates the efforts of the Newspaper In Education program and provides

customer service for Herald-Dispatch readers and the general public.

Getting a story in the newspaper takes many people

The Herald-Dispatch

Each news story you see in the paper began with an idea.

Reporters, photographers, editors, copy editors and graphic artists all work together in the newsroom each day to turn those ideas into stories and make sure readers are well-informed.

Story ideas can come from press releases, calls from readers, reporters and their sources and from editors who brainstorm in meetings. Editors decide if an idea seems newsworthy, and if it does, they assign those story ideas to reporters.

Many reporters develop the story idea before actually conducting interviews and writing. Collecting background information about the subject first helps a reporter know what questions to ask a source.

Reporters must interview people to get both sides of the story and make sure it’s balanced and fair.

Photographers also are assigned to some stories. The photos they take will help tell the story visually.

After gathering information for the story, reporters either come back to the newsroom to write the story or write it on another computer at a different location and electronically send it to the newsroom.

Then the editors take over.

Editors read the stories to make sure they are factually accurate, grammatically correct and have all the angles covered.

If it’s not, then it goes back to the reporter for more work or further newsgathering.

All stories are placed on a budget, a list that shows which stories should be in the paper on which day.

Each day there is a meeting to help determine the placement of all stories in the newspaper. City desk, copy desk, sports and feature editors meet with the executive editor and managing editor to talk about which stories belong on the front page and which should go inside.

After the meeting, stories that don’t need any further reporting are sent by city editors to the copy desk.

Copy desk editors read the story again, then decide with the help of city editors where in the newspaper the story and photos are going to go. The copy editors place the story on the page and write a headline to go with the story.

When stories and photos have been placed on the page and headlines have been written, the page is sent to the pre-press department, where the page is made ready to go to the press, at which point it will be printed on newsprint, bundled and delivered to businesses, residences and other drop-off points.

Each day the whole process is repeated again. Newsroom workers come up with ideas, develop them, gather news, write about it, edit it and design the pages you read each morning.

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