What Is a Graf in Journalism?

Graf, AKA the Paragraph

newspaper on top of laptop
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If you are learning basic journalism terms, you may be wondering, "What is a graf?"

Graf, AKA the Paragraph

A graf is, in newsroom parlance, the term for a paragraph. The term graf is usually tossed around by editors and is either written on a story or referred to verbally.

Graf is part of a general editorial shorthand that editors at newspapers, magazines and other publications use. For example, an editor might tell you to fix your first graf.

An editor might also write out the word "graf" on a story, in reference to a paragraph, so you should know what the term stands for.

Because the term is slang, it would not be used in a sentence. It would, most often, appear on a draft of a story.

Other Common Journalism Terms

  • Slug - A line of type set in metal on a what is called a Linotype machine. Also the one-word title given to an article as it moves through editing and design process. 
  • Above the fold - A broadsheet newspaper folded in half for display. The top half of the page, above the fold, is held to be the most important part of the paper from a readership and advertising standpoint. Reporters in general aim to have their stories printed on the front page -- particularly above the fold.
  • Point size - Size of the type face.
  • Advance - A story outlining a future event. 
  • Pasteup - The putting together of pages by pasting type onto page mockups, which are then photographed to be made into metal plates for the printing press. Decades ago, all print publications were put together this way; now, most are designed via computer.
  • Pica pole - A metal ruler used by printers in the composing room to measure type by picas (12 points to the pica, six picas to the inch). The pica pole is pounded against a metal surface in the ritual of banging out an employee leaving the premises for the last time.
  • Wires - Stories or photographs sent electrically to your computer.
  • Transparency — When it comes to news and information, this term refers to openness about information. In many cases, it is used to refer to the transparency of government releasing data to journalists and to the public. It is often used in the context of journalists being open about their reporting process and material by sharing with their readers before the final project emerges or providing more context in addition to the final product.
  • Tick-tock - A step-by-step account of how a particular event occurred.
  • 30 - A numeral indicating the conclusion of a story.
  • stet - (From the Latin) Let it stand; let the original copy go as written. The hardest word for a copy editor to use.
  • Run - To publish a story.
  • Retraction - A withdrawal of a previously-published story or fact. ​

  • Revision - A re-written or improved story, often with additional quotes or facts.

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