30. -30-.

nablo1108accomplishment120x240It’s a journalism tradition: typing “-30-” to signify the end of a piece of copy.

I’m using it here to signify the completion of this edition of National Blog Posting Month.

The tradition, as far as journalism is concerned, is well past its shelf life, although you still see it once in a while at the end of a news release. Once computers took over the newsroom, the practice of marking the end of whatever you were filing was largely unnecessary; in fact, I’ve never used it, with the exception of my first reporting class at OU 23 years ago — long enough ago that we were still using typewriters in class.

The cool thing about the practice is that no one is entirely sure where it came from. It could be that -30- was the way telegraphs were ended in the Civil War era, when stories would have been sent back to newsrooms and bureaus over the wire. I’ve also read speculation that -30- was a bastardized version of XXX — the Roman numeral version of the number — when XXX was used to mark the end of copy written longhand.

A fun piece about the tradition appeared in the American Journalism Review a year ago; it’s worth a read, just to see some of the speculation about the birth of -30-.

But for my purposes, I’m just happy to say I’ve wrapped up another shot at NaBloPoMo. It was a bit easier than it was a year ago — but it still ain’t easy.

-30-

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2 thoughts on “30. -30-.”

  1. I think so. With the ongoing adventures of home ownership, the holidays, college football bowl game debates and everything else, I don’t think I should be short on possible topics.

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