'Lede' may be nostalgic fiction, but 'CQ' and '30' go back to telegraph days

Msnbc.com's Bill Dedman responded to my lede vs. lead post to tell me that "CQ" (which indicates that something is correct) and "30" (which notes the end of the story, and itself is the subject of nostalgia) originated with telegrapher's codes such as the Phillips Code. Walter Phillips developed the shorthand in the late 1800s to aid the filing of news reports by telegraph. "POTUS," which Politico apparently is required to place in at least one story each week, also is part of the Phillips Code. So is "SCOTUS." Dedman wins today's journalism history contest. (This post is the award.) || Marginally related: This seems an appropriate place to note that The New York Times' breaking news blog is called "The Lede." ||  Much more related: The Awl's Choire Sicha takes up the anti-lede mantle, imploring New York Times editors to stop using the term "lede-all," which apparently is a specific type of story at the Times. "Twitter is outward-facing!" Sicha writes. "We don't work in your Renzo Piano building! Stop using wonky insider work terms that no one knows about or cares about!" Best retort to his post: "So, you want us to bury the lede, then."

  • Steve Myers

    Steve Myers was the managing editor of Poynter.org until August 2012, when he became the deputy managing editor and senior staff writer for The Lens, a nonprofit investigative news site in New Orleans.


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