Tag Archives: spiked stories

Spiking gets spiked at the Washington Post

The Washington Post’s new CMS eliminates the option to “spike”a story  to indicate it wasn’t going to make it in the paper. The anachronistic newsroom colloquialism was replaced instead with the colorless “delete.”

The Post’s John Kelly writes:

To “spike” a story is to eliminate it before it sees print. It has its origins in a physical act. If you look at old photos of newsrooms from the ’30s or ’40s, you will see eyeshade-wearing men, their sleeves held up with garters, sitting at long tables. Sticking up from those tables are metal spikes. A story that was insufficient for whatever reason would be smashed atop the spike, the paper perforated and pinioned like a butterfly or the head of a traitor. We long ago stopped using metal spikes, but the word persisted. In our old computer system, you could dispatch a story by clicking on a drop-down menu, highlighting the word “Spike” and clicking enter. It was a bloodless, digital spiking, but I always got a kick out of knowing the word connected me to journalism’s past. Continue reading

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