Wednesday, April 21, 2010
My college newspaper we had to assign a slug to each story. A slug is simply a one-word description that everyone can use internally to track the story through its development and find it in the system. It often has nothing to do with the story, and it's difficult for journalists to avoid showing biases in their one-word descriptions. Newspapers were new to the Internet back then, and the system we used to publish online was buggy at best and wildly unreliable most of the time. One afternoon, half the stories on the homepage published with their slugs instead of thier headlines. The story about an athlete was THUG, thepolice blotter was GUILTY, and the report on the board of regents was simply: REGENTS. That last one wasn't so bad. Thankfully, I'm sure not many people noticed the problem.