Advice - Welcome / Definitions

Here we define the categories used in the suggested rates sections.

We are also compiling a glossary or vocabulary list. Suggestions for further terms that need to be defined are welcome.

BBC and national TV

Your editor, a mere harmless drudge of a scribbler, is delighted to discover this rich seam of jargon. Every trade and every large organisation produces buzzwords - but here the BBC excels. "Disco donut" is especially treasurable.

Job jargon definitions for
BBC and national TV

A telephone interview conducted by a presenter in the radio studio with a correspondent. These can last anything from 40 seconds to 3 minutes. In television they are called Phonos.


Recorded voices, music or street sounds etc.


Reference to negotiations in 2000 over the launch of the BBC4 digital channel.


A news report, usually between 40 seconds and 1 minute 20 seconds in length, containing a short suggested cue or introduction and then the correspondent's voice with no recorded material. It is played down the telephone, usually an ISDN digital line, or sent via an FTP internet link.

Disco / donut

A discussion with two or more guest speakers, usually coordinated from the TV studio and introduced and summarised by the correspondent.

DV feature

A television feature produced by the correspondent with their own camera and often edited by that same correspondent. (DV stands for Digital Video.)


Similar to a Short package but longer and more of an in-depth look at a particular story, containing several clips of recorded voices of people relevant to the story plus a variety of atmospheric sounds and perhaps some analysis.


From Our Own Correspondent - a radio column, in effect


File Transfer Protocol. The Internet is not just the Web, you know: email and FTP are two of the other services that run over it. In the case of broadcasting, used to transfer files containing recorded packages.

Generic minute

The first report sent by a correspondent after a breaking story and intended for use by all BBC outlets. It is "generic" because it is not tailor-made for radio, television or any particular programme. Otherwise similar to a despatch.

Illustrated despatch

A radio despatch containing one or more pieces of recorded material - a clip of speech or music or of, for example, a street demonstration.


A now-antique class of digital telephone line permitting transmission of broadcast-quality audio, live or recorded. Will not be entirely superseded by cheaper and usually faster broadband internet connections until someone writes the software to grab live audio from one of these into the broadcaster's systems. It stands for Integrated Services Digital Network, fact-fans.

Live Donut

An interview or 2-way with a correspondent, in which the correspondent introduces a third speaker and then summarises the story. (The third speaker is the jam inside, while the correspondent is the dough wrapped around the speaker.)


Information in a non-broadcast form relayed to the BBC immediately after a story has broken (for example text sent by email). A correspondent is then asked to produce a generic minute.


Some particular kind of television feature in BBC jargon. The editor's extensive efforts have failed to discover for what NFU stands in this case.


An interview conducted by the presenter in the TV studio with a correspondent. A photograph of the correspondent and the city they are in is shown on the screen while they are talking. TV equivalent of the radio 2-way.

Press review

A summary of a particular country's newspapers, usually just containing the correspondent's voice, and either read live or sent by telephone or via FTP.

Recorded interview

An interview conducted by a radio correspondent with a person of interest, on a minidisc or tape recorder. The interview, usually edited, is then sent down the telephone, usually via an ISDN quality line, or via an FTP internet link.

Short package

Similar to an Illustrated despatch but a little longer, usually containing the voices of at least two people relevant to the story, plus any sounds.


A correspondent's voice which is used in the TV studio to paint over pictures, usually received from a news agency and/or from the BBC library.

Track and PTC

The same as a TV Live except that the correspondent will be filmed talking to the camera, usually for 10 to 30 seconds, to be included in the final report. A PTC is a Piece To Camera.

Track, PTC and rushes

The same as Track and PTC but with extra unedited film.

TV Live / DTL

A live interview (Down The Line) with the correspondent who will be in front of a camera either in a studio or in the field.


Some particular kind of television feature in BBC jargon. The editor's extensive efforts have, here, too, failed to discover for what WNA stands in this case.


A summary of the day's events or a summary of the whole story.


The more territories a book is marketed in, the more photographers should charge. The following are typical sets of territorial rights used by UK publishers.

Category definitions for
A: UK only

One edition in the UK only - or in one other first language

B: UK and Commonwealth bar Canada

Editions in both UK and the rest of the British Commonwealth editions, but excluding Canada

C: one language world rights - bar USA

One-language world rights excluding the USA; or UK and Commonwealth edition including Canada

D: all Europe, or USA

One language world rights including USA; or world rights excluding USA; or European rights only; or USA rights only

E: world rights all languages

World rights in all languages

Corporate work

Given the huge disparity between the rates available from big corporations and a tiny (or stingy) outfit publishing a routine report, these are the broadest of broad-brush strokes...

Category definitions for
Corporate work
High budget

Large commercial organisations
Government departments, quangos
Larger trade unions and national charities

Low budget

Small commercial organisations
Most trade unions
Small voluntary organisations and charities


Magazine categories are loosely based on advertising rates.

Category definitions for
A: large-circulation and glossy mags

Large circulation "glossy" consumer magazines charging at least £8000/colour page for advertising; prestigious specialist magazines that may charge less for advertising; for example Marie-Claire, GQ, Management Today.

B: smaller consumer mags

Consumer magazines with smaller circulations, charging £5000 - £8000/colour page for advertising; slightly less prestigious specialist magazines, possibly with a more general readership; for example Arena, Moneywise

C: larger trade and trade union mags

Larger circulation trade magazines and some special interest titles charging £2000-5000/colour page; for example Accountancy Age, Computer Weekly and trade union journals. Journals of smaller trade unions plead to be allowed into Group D.

D: smaller mags

Small circulation trade magazines whose advertising rates are likely to be below £2000/page and magazines that carry little or no advertising; for example Driving Instructors Magazine. Note that small-circulation specialist publications and newsletters going to influential readerships can pay category A rates or better to writers who understand east Siberian tar sands, or nanotube toxicity, or whatever. These should pay at least Category B rates to photographers.

National newspapers

In previous editions of the Guide these were newspaper categories A and B.

Category definitions for
National newspapers

National newspapers: daily and Sunday titles produced in London and distributed throughout the UK; The Herald, Sunday Herald, Daily Record and Sunday Mail (Glasgow-based) and The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday from Edinburgh. Although the London Evening Standard is not a national newspaper, similar rates apply; likewise for Lloyds List.

Newspapers - broadsheet

A size of paper: 17 x 22 inches. Until 2003 this was the size preferred by quality papers in the UK.

Newspapers - compact size

What quality papers tend to call themselves when they're tabloid sized. Which is them telling their snootier readers "we may be tabloid, but we're not a tabloid, oh no."

Newspapers' supplements

Glossy colour supplements to national newspapers and their matte equivalents - which should pay more than the parent paper for words and pictures. Unfortunately many of the plethora of dingier supplements - Buy Into A Mutual Fund Now You Idiot, Lifestyle Options Involving Shopping and so forth - pay toward the low end of their parent paper's range.


What tabloid editor Kelvin McKenzie called "the unpopular press" - national newspapers that were still broadsheet sized in January 2003. From London, for example, the Telegraph, Guardian, Times, Independent and Financial Times (in ascending order of unpopularity).


Strictly, a size of paper: 11 x 17 inches or 280 x 430 mm. In terms of rates, conditions and culture, however, tabloids are those newspapers that used this size of paper before January 2003. From London, for example, the Sun, Mirror, Mail, Express and Daily Sport.

Online use of photos

The following are really rather self-evident, but the database generated links so this is what they link to...

Category definitions for
Online use of photos
1 month online

Very short-term use.

3 months online

What it says...

6 months online

a year online

Quite a long time... negotiate rather a large fee if the client wants to leave it there forever.

Public relations

Given the huge disparity between the rates available from a desperate corporation that needs to save its reputation from nasty allegations, and those from a tiny (or stingy) outfit wanting a routine press release, these are the broadest of broad-brush strokes...

Category definitions for
Public relations
High budget

Large commercial organisations
Government departments, quangos
Larger trade unions and national charities

Low budget

Small commercial organisations
Most trade unions
Small voluntary organisations and charities

Regional newspapers

In previous editions of the Guide these were newspaper categories C and D.

Category definitions for
Regional newspapers
Regional daily newspapers

Daily, evening and Sunday regional newspapers. Examples include - or should include - the Western Daily Press, East Anglian Daily Times, Birmingham Post, Manchester Evening News and so forth. The Belfast Telegraph, Belfast News Letter, Irish News and Belfast Sunday Life are usually regarded as regional newspapers

Weekly/local newspapers

Local and provincial weekly and free newspapers - from the Walsall Chronicle or thereabouts down to the likes of the Abergele Visitor (which was sadly closed in 2008) or the Accrington Observer.


The more exotic the language (relative to English), the more translators can charge - until you get to the point where there's no commercial market at all.

Category definitions for

French, German, Italian, Spanish, Welsh or Gaelic.


Afrikaans, Danish, Dutch, Latin, Norwegian, Portuguese


Arabic, Greek, Hebrew or Swedish


Chinese, Korean or Japanese


All other languages.


The beginning of a glossary of the sometimes-arcane vocabulary of freelance journalism and trade unionism...


Payment made up front to a book author. The idea is that royalties earned pay off the advance, and after it's paid off royalty cheques start arriving - except that this will never happen with the silly-money advances paid to some celebrity authors.


Signing over all rights in a piece of work. Unscrupulous publishers and broadcasters, or those with ignorant lawyers prone to laundry lists, frequently ask for this for the same fee that they recently paid for a licence for single use. To grant this would be like handing over the freehold of a house for the price of a month's rent. See Rights and why they are important.


International (and national) law refers to everyone who creates any textual, visual or musical works as an "author". So if we occasionally lump photographers in as "authors" when discussing copyright and, er, authors' rights, we do not mean to offend.


Strictly, if a court declares that you are insolvent, then you are bankrupt. Colloquially, this term may be applied to people or (less often, perhaps) companies that simply face possible court proceedings for insolvency.


The organisation of the NUJ (or of the printers' union GPMU) within an office. See this discussion of its origins. The Chair of a Chapel is referred to as the Mother or Father of Chapel (MoC or FoC).


Content Management System: computer software used to manage a website. Apart from allowing you to file articles and mark them up, this frequently comes with SEO features (q.v.).

Collecting society

An organisation that collects many payments for permission to make use of authors' work - for example from libraries for licences to make photocopies - and distributes them to the authors. See Rights and why they are important.


Your creditors are people to whom you owe money. That makes you their debtor - someone who owes them money. This language makes sense if you're doing "double-entry book-keeping".


Cascading Style Sheets: the language that defines the appearance of an HTML element within a web page, properly-marked-up to describe its semantic rôle. Called "cascading" because you can have more than one style sheet, with the final appearance determined by the rule "follow the last order, and for anything it leaves ambiguous see the previous order".


Your debtors are people who owe you money. That makes you their creditor - someone to whom they owe money. This language makes sense if you're doing "double-entry book-keeping".

Derogatory treatment

Possibly the most meaning-concealing phrase in UK law, which specifies that "treatment of a work is derogatory if it amounts to distortion or mutilation of the work or is otherwise prejudicial to the honour or reputation of the author or director". In other words, a breach of your right to defend the integrity of your work, where you have it.


Digital Single-Lens Reflex: a digital camera in which the viewfinder sees through the same lens as the imaging chip; the equivalent of a 35mm SLR (Single Lens Reflex) film camera.


We use "employed" in a strict legal sense. See the advice here.


An "exception" to copyright is a rule specifying when a work (or a substantial part of it) can be used without either the permission of, or payment to, the author (or other owner).


"Exclusive" is of course a much-misused term. It does have a very specific meaning, however, in the context of licences and contracts: that the author agrees not to license the work in question to anyone else. This stipulation may - should - apply for a specified period. The longer the period, the greater the additional payment for exclusivity should be,


What copyright protects is the way you tell the story (in words or pictures), not the fact that (for example) Diana Windsor was found alive and well or that you pointed a camera at her. This is called the "expression" embodied in your work. Usually the distinction is clear: at the margins, whether something is a fact or an expression must be decided case-by-case - in the last resort by a court.

Fair dealing

In UK law the test of whether a use is allowed under an exception to copyright is whether it is "fair dealing" in the work. Ultimately, a court has to decide whether the use in question complies with the "three-step test" laid down in international law, which holds that it must be for:

  • "certain special case" (specified in UK law); and
  • not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work or other subject-matter; and
  • not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the rightholder (that's you).


First British Serial rights (also FBSR): the traditional licence to reproduce words or a picture for the first time, once, in a serial based in Great Britain. Having granted an FBS licence, an author is free to license Second Slovenian Serial rights or (after a polite interval) Second British Serial. See Rights and why they are important.


A proprietary system from Macromedia Inc for creating and distributing animated graphics on the web. Not to be used where either accessibility for people with disabilities or accessibility to indexing robots is desired or required. Web designers need to be aware that many users block all Flash content on the assumption that it is in fact content-free. In fact, some would say that this bizarre Czech game represents the only worthwhile Flash content on the entire interwebnet.


HyperText Markup Language: the specification for the tags that, properly used, define the semantic rôle of each element in a web page - as in <em>this is emphasised</em>.


Simply, the right to be visibly credited as the author when your work is used. This is one of the key Moral Rights. See Rights and why they are important.

Implied licence

A court can decide that actions you have taken - or indeed fail to take - have the same effect as granting a licence to use your work. If you sent someone sample photos and they regularly put them on their website and you knew and you didn't object, for example...


Lawyerese for "promise to pay for the consequences of...", in this context. This word should ring alarm bells about publishers putting a freelance's house on the line for mistakes regardless of who made them. See Commissions and contracts and liability insurance for NUJ members.


The condition of a person or company whose total debts exceed the total of their assets and the money owed to them.


In some circumstances you have a right to object (in the last resort, go to court) when someone distributes your work in a form that is altered so that constitutes derogatory treatment of the work. That is, you (sometimes) have a right to defend the integrity of your work. This is one of the key Moral Rights. See Rights and why they are important.


An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) uniquely identifies an edition of a book. The preferred form is a 13-digit number; older editions may quote only a 10-digit number. These may or may not be broken up with hyphens. See Collecting societies pay for copying.


An International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) is a new-ish standard for unique identifiers for authors (or illustrators or photographers...) We are not yet aware of authors beign required to know their own ISNI. See Collecting societies pay for copying.


An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) uniquely identifies a "serial" - a magazine or journal. It is an eight-digit number in the form 0000-0000. It "should be displayed in a prominent position on every issue". An online edition may have a separate ISSN to a print edition, and editions in different territories should have different ISSNs. See Collecting societies pay for copying.


A serial - that is, a newspaper, magazine or academic journal - in the jargon of the Collecting societies.

Laundry list

Surprisingly few lawyers actually understand copyright or authors' rights. And what a conscientious lawyer does when asked to draft a contract covering a matter they do not understand is to put everything in, including but not limited to the kitchen sink, rights in universes yet to be invented, film rights in Uncle Tom Cobbley's memoirs and all.


Permission, or a contract granting permission, to make use of a copyright work in a specified place and time.


The process of winding up (that is, closing down) a company that is insolvent. Equivalent to a declaration of bankruptcy of an individual.

Moral Rights

In English, Welsh and Scottish law the relevant Moral Rights are: the right to be identified as the author; and the right to defend the integrity of the work (against changes "contrary to the honour or reputation" of the author). See Rights and why they are important; details specifically for photographers; and more links at


PHP is a computer programming language used to format and present websites whose content is held in databases. The popular "Content Management System" WordPress is largely written in PHP, and as a website designer you may need to write snippets of PHP code to make it behave in the way your client wants. (There are arguments about what "PHP" stands for: we think it's "Personal Home Page" after its humble origin.)

Public interest

The concept of determining whether a deed is "in the public interest" is another one that comes down to the discretion of the court in each case that goes that far. It is important that - however much tabloid editors and owners argue otherwise - "the public interest" is distinct from things that are interesting to some of the public because they are prurient or titillating.

Public Lending Right

Payment to compensate books' authors for lending of their work by libraries. UK law says authors are entitled to PLR because they are the author. PLR is quite separate from copyright (in all countries where it exists that we know of, except Germany and Austria). It is calculated from a survey of selected libraries, extrapolated statistically. See Rights and why they are important.


Some clients will pay a "retainer" in return for a journalist being ready to drop everything and, for example, report on breaking news or draft a statement responding to breaking news. The journalist will charge on top of the retainer for substantial work done - the payment is to ensure that they give this work priority.


Payment to an author of a percentage of the cover price of each book sold. Sensible contracts specify that the percentage rises with the total number sold, reflecting the fact that the first book off the press may cost the publisher £10,000 not including the author's advance; the second £1; and the 10,000th may cost 60p because printing in bulk is cheaper. Royalties are also a sensible method of payment for online publication, where the second and subsequent copies sold essentially cost no more than the credit card transaction fee. See advice for book authors.

Secondary use

When is a use of a work "secondary"? Clear examples are the photocopying of a page of a book (and any photos on it) and the distribution of electronic "press cuttings" by a PR agency. Both these cases are covered by licences from collecting societies. In the digital age, the borders between primary and secondary use may be blurring...

Self billing

Accountant's term for a system under which freelances do not send invoices, but payment appears magically with a kind of retroactive combined purchase order and invoice. See Getting your money.


Search Engine Optimisation: rules and suggestions for making a web page show up earlier in the list of results for web searches that would-be readers are presumed to be likely to try. SEO is a strange mixture of common sense - put words they are likely to search for in the title of the page - and snake oil. It is also responsible for some of the truly dreadful headlines and standfirsts we see online - but not necessarily all that will shock and horrify you. Here's how.


A newspaper, magazine or journal, generically.


Sub-editors: the people who convert reporters' and feature-writers' ramblings into crisp, grammatical, accessible text that fits the house-style of the publication. Or the people who take out all the quirks and flavour, if you're a quirky writer in a bad mood. Developments in publishing technology mean that subs' jobs increasingly overlap with production work, especially that involved in dealing with the unfortunate restriction that newspaper and magazine pages and most stories are rectangular - and so a three-column story must occupy a number of lines that is a multiple of three. Non-subs may be surprised how much of the form of published stories is determined by this geometrical imperative.

Substantial part

You can demand payment only if someone uses a "substantial part" of your work. What's that? It depends. "Ye are many - they are few" would probably be actionable, if any of Shelley's 284-line poem were in copyright. Book reviewers may be able to quote a higher proportion of prose, but there is no magic number. See Rights and why they are important and What you should know about quoting.


The act of selling a licence for second or subsequent publication of a work. Classically, when the Guardian pays the Sydney Morning Herald to re-use a story or a photo, the Australian author or photographer should get half that fee. If they re-sell it to the Guardian themselves, they should keep the whole fee; but only if they have retained copyright. See Rights and why they are important.


Short for the "address" of a web page, for example this: http://‌‌feesguide/‌glossary.html. "URL" stands for Uniform Resource Locator. There was a reason for the name, once.

It is sometimes useful to be able to name the parts of a URL:

  • http:// - the "protocol", which is to say: what kind of URL is this? It's a Web page. The most common alternative is the self-explanatory mailto:
  • - the "host name", which is the name by which your computer asks the internet the location of the computer on which this site lives or is "hosted".
  • /feesguide/ - the "directory" or "folder" in which this web page lives on its host computer.
  • glossary.html - the "name of the file" containing this web page (or in this case a short-form name of the page).

A wonderfully meaning-concealing legal way of saying "give up". If you waive your moral rights you do not have them any more. On the other hand, if you sign a contract that includes a "waiver" of responsibility for any legal costs arising from your work, you are agreeing to pay those costs. On the third hand, if you waive a fee (for example for use of your work on the web) you just don't get it. Confused? That's the idea.


Lawyerese for "promise and guarantee", in this context. At the most innocuous, a freelance may be asked to warrant that the work they submit is all their own. At worst, this word should ring alarm bells about publishers putting a freelance's house on the line for mistakes regardless of who made them. See Commissions and contracts.

Work for hire

In US law, copyright in works produced by journalists who are paid by the hour or the day belongs to the company that hired them (unless they manage to get the company to agree otherwise). This "work for hire" doctrine applies in few other jurisdictions.


eXtensible Markup Language: like HTML but more so - much, much more so. A scheme for defining a "language" that fully describes the semantic rôle of every piece of text in a document. It enables a file fully to describe its own contents thus:
<headline>How XML works</headline>
<byline>Mike Holderness</byline>
<intro>XML enables a file fully to describe its own contents...</intro>

What is missing, or wrong?

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What is missing, or wrong?

You tell us.

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Text © Mike Holderness & previous contributors; Moral rights asserted. The collection (database right) © National Union of Journalists. Comments to please. You may find the glossary helpful.

The National Union of Journalists must not, can not and would not wish to dictate rates or terms of engagement to members or to editors. The information presented here is for guidance and as an aid to equitable negotiation only.

Suggestions apply to contracts governed by UK law only. In any event, nothing here should be construed as legal advice.