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Newspapers and Magazines

What does local copy refer to in journalism?


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June 07, 2007 12:53PM

Before the advent of computers, most newsrooms, whether print or broadcast, received the core of their daily information fromwire services [e.g. Associated Press, UPI, Reuters]. Thewire copy appearedin those newsrooms via printers loaded with largerolls of paper. Some major operations might have separate printers for sports or international news, but it was common to walk into a newsroom and see a printer clacking away with a spool of paper collecting on the floor behind it. It was the job of a copy boy, production assistant, or whoever was available to scoop up the wire copy, sort it,and "peg" it. Some newsroomshad pegs or spikes on a wall or table where the different stories would be posted; others had clipboards or large paperclips hanging on a wall, in/out baskets, or labeled manila folders on a "Lazy Susan"-type rack. The idea was to make it easy to find a particular piece of wire copy. The most common pegs were LOCAL, national/international, sports, business and weather. Thus, anyone looking for the mayor's speech, for example, would go to the peg containing all the LOCAL COPY. These days, most newsrooms have computers to separatewire copy as it comes in, so nobody has to tear up long scrolls of paper any more. A reporter or editor looking for a specific story can either go to a computer file or directory such as LOCAL or sports, or theycan have the computersearch for it using keywords. Computers also allow you to find a story, regardless of which wire service provided it.