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An Auspicious Return; Camelbaks; Journalism Terms!!

Categories: This Writer's Life.
If you cared to notice, friends, last week I did(n’t) accomplish two of my goals; one of which was to play Ice Hockey on Nintendo using the time-tested strategy of two fat guys, and two skinny guys on my squad, and the other was writing a sweet, sweet entry for this blog. Apologies need to be distributed according to weight, height, and comment capacity, but since I can’t physically touch you, all I can try and do is touch your soul with this e-card.

Seriously though, that kind of absence is not something I’m proud of, and I don’t plan on doing it again until the summer, when I can run nearly naked through the streets in a sunbonnet, sipping Dark N Stormy’s out of a Camelbak, not draped in beaver pelt pajamas, and not listening to the weatherman use phrases like, “a white, wintery, altogether dreadful, dreadful day tomorrow.”

This week is somewhat of a lull before an intense writing storm. I’m waiting for edits to come back on the Globe Magazine piece I complained about last time, I’m building up an interview list to strategically plan a Boston Mag piece coming out in May, and I’m actually ahead at my day job with Thrillist.

What I should do, of course, is take advantage of said lull to get in some desperately needed time with my novel re-write, but that just feels like it won’t happen, mainly bc I’m so focused on other things right now that not only can I not see the forest for the trees, I can’t even definitively say I see any trees. So where does that leave us, friends? 

I’ll tell you exactly where it leaves us — in just the right frame of mind to get our education on about some sweet journalism termzz!! Here’s the deal: because I spent several thousand euros on an education in journalism, I regularly throw journalism shorthand into the mix of my daily conversations. Not only does this annoy the people trying to make my turkey wraps, but it makes me sound confusing, and possibly insane… which is why it’s so damn fun! Now I know most of you smart, aesthetically pleasing, modestly well-off readers already know what these things are, but just in case you don’t, let me break down a few of my faves so that you, too, can use your journalism shorthand to pick up potential love partners in hot clubs, or, better yet, social networking sites.  Added bonus: I’m experimenting with changing font colors!

TK: To Come, meaning more info will be added at a later date. I use this term at least seven times a day, mostly to signal to my editor that I’m too lazy to Google something. Popular usage: Casey lost his virginity when he was TK years old, which seems weirdly young.
Hilarious verbal usage: “I seriously don’t know if I DVR’d The City, probably because I’ve had like TK beers.”

Lede: Not to be confused with the Belgian municipality of the same name, the lede is the intro, or “lead” to a piece, and can be a straight newsy style telling of the biz at hand: hard lede; or a creative super awesome never-been-done-before move that puts you right into the heart of the story and immediately signifies to the reader that you spent money on post-graduate work, use the term “mettle,” and enjoy Tom Wolfe’s early journalism: soft lede. 
Popular usage: (often in a note to my editor) This isn’t the best lede, but this is the one I wrote.
Hilarious verbal usage, usually following someone taking forever to get to the point of a boring story: Wow. You really buried the lede on that one, didn’t you?!?

Nut Graf: One or more paragraphs that explain why exactly you’re supposed to want to stop texting your cousin to read this story; a considerable source of angst when you really have no idea why you’re writing a story, even after 4000 words and several expensed meals. Often shortened to “the nut.”
Popular usage: (often in a note from my editor to me) Yes, I understand you think a rhino going to the bathroom is hilarious. I get that. But what is the nut of this piece, exactly? And no, James isn’t going to expense your second trip to the Franklin Park Zoo.
Hilarious verbal usage: Um… nevermind.

Comments should be placed in an airtight container, and stored in a dry, safe setting.

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19 Responses to An Auspicious Return; Camelbaks; Journalism Terms!!

  1. Nicole says:

    Ahh, brings back some memories from Beginning Journalism in High School. The term "nut graph" was the bane of my existence, and I’m not even sure why anymore.

  2. Tom says:

    Another Tuesday and no Kev comments or new post.
    Doh.

  3. Paige says:

    We waz wandering what waz up and now we know you are not dead or worse…
    fired
    What a relief for us as well as you I’m sure.

  4. Heather says:

    Beaver pelts? Snuggies? Naked Kevin? So many images, so little space in my brain. Just signed up to your blog and I thought I was being jipped for a while. Guess it was just paranoia, but glad you’re back.

    Interesting new terms…since I’m not a journalism major, but after reading some of these comments, I wonder if I should include it in my education. Something to look into. In the meantime, I can use those terms in hilarious verbage and pretend to know what I’m saying. :)

    Heather

    P.S. The Killers rock!

  5. Christine says:

    Oh, Tom, I haven’t heard about the inverted pyramid in sooo long. It made me cringe. :)

    Maybe we should put together a task force of Kevin stalkers…I mean, protectors, so that if he goes missing again we’ll be ready.

    You can listen to the music at the sign off? Crap. I’ve been missing that all along.

  6. Pat says:

    Yes, Kev, I questioned you not being listed on the WD site, and you were missed. Glad to see you are back. And, yes, I’d go to Boston searching the coffee shops but it would have to wait until spring at which time I hope I can get out of this darn snow!

    After all this time I just realized I can listen to the music in your sign-off. Cool.

  7. Olivia says:

    Mmmmm…Snuggies.

  8. Tom says:

    Oooh, good point. Are there creepy people about here who would go to Boston and hang out at every coffee shop possible until they found The Kev? He could very well be building an extremely successful, albeit small, cult. He could get them to all wear Snuggies, and they’d be warm and comfy and kind of creepy.

    Thanks(?) for the vid link, Kev. I believe I played it about thirty times whilst doing other webz-related things last night, and how it’s stuck in my head. I had to play the Killers this morning to eradicate it and reset the mental playlist.

    When You Were,
    Young

    The Killers.

  9. Genevieve says:

    Kevin – is it spooky and highly flattering at the same time that this many of us are into your humor and notice when your gone? I would think it would make you all warm, fuzzy, and misty-eyed and yet intimidated at the same time that if Writer’s Digest got rid of your blog they would have writers all over the country invading Boston.

  10. rayray says:

    So what’s your novel about?

  11. I was wondering what happened to you. Not concerned enough to write and ask, I know, but I did wonder.
    Once again, an absolutely hilarious post. I have somewhat fond memories of my days as a newspaper editor – well, fond may be too strong a word. The best part was the fear I could strike in the heart of my reporters.
    Good times.

    Glad you’re back.

  12. Olivia says:

    Wow. Well worth the wait, Kev.

    Probably a good thing you didn’t blog last week, though. I was stuck at home (all but bedridden due to some physical…complications), and I became a total internet junkie for about 10 days straight. I so would have flooded your blog with nonsense. Your absence saved you.

    At the risk of looking like a complete dork, I’m going to admit to you and all your readers that that was my very first e-card. Scary, yet hilarious. Thanks.

    Everything I know about journalism, I learned from the Superman and Spiderman movies, so….pretty much nothing. (See, I even misued a comma in that sentence and gave my ellipsis four dots instead of three. Shame, shame.) I enjoyed the edumacation on the sweet termzz. I’m totally finding a way to use nut graf at least once a day now. Won’t be difficult.

    I wish you blessed us with color usage more often, Kev.

    One final note: I’m pretty sure we already discussed your goals for the year. That novel is not going to edit itself. Seriously. Get crackin’ on that. *stern look and finger-pointing*

    Another great vid! Nothing like snappy hand-clapping and a bright red jumper dress to smack some life into your brain.

  13. Mindy says:

    Nice visual in the second paragraph. My roommate failed to find the humor that caused me to burst out laughing in a quite room, but thank-you for the chuckle. :) And I’m really glad you’re still blogging for WD. You’re posts are a funny bit of inspiration when I need it.

  14. Genevieve says:

    This was a good tutorial. I think I knew one of those terms – nut. I’ve freelanced for local papers before, and I loved the interviewing part, but I dreaded the writing part. I’m just not that good at it. From what I understand, neither was Dylan Thomas. So by that logic I should be able to write killer poetry, right?

  15. Tom says:

    I’ve not been swallowed by Boston, either, and I can’t even make a clever pun based on that sentence, because it would be terribly inappropriate.

    I have been engulfed by snow, however. We’re under six inches right now, so I’m all down wit The Kev’s musings on his wintry temporary doom. (Which is quite better than a "moosey fate.")

    I have my own journalism degree. I picked it up in college. Apparently, if you hang out in the building long enough, they let you take one home with you. I have used it on occasion, although the original reasons for bringing it home seem to have dissapated. (How do you spell "dissipate?")

    It does help me write, though, and it has brought me monies on occasion. It’s also chiefly responsible for most, if not all, of my publishing creds, so I have to thank it for that.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go type a message to a friend on Facebook using the inverted pyramid method.

  16. Christine says:

    Erin, so with you on not getting the warm fuzzies over a journalism career. Journalism always feels like homework to me, whereas writing a fictional story is usually followed by feelings of euphoria. I heart feelings of euphoria.

    Kevin, glad Boston didn’t swallow you.

  17. Erin says:

    Ahh, journalism. So not the right writing-related career for me. I suck at being objective, and often find cold hard facts to be too boring to write about. But I highly respect those who do have the capacity for it, and thank them for keeping me reasonably well-informed of what’s going on in the world around me.

  18. Missed you last week. Glad to see that you’re back. Thanks for the laughs!

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