What is with the -30- ?

Glad you asked. Manuscript editors as well as working journalists from the era of typewriters know instantly it is the traditional editing symbol meaning "the end."

We proudly continue the tradition, which many of our staff learned at the knees - and ink-stained fingertips - of the KU School of Journalism's experienced journalists-turned-faculty.

But why -30- ?
There are many ideas. Some say it started with telegraphers who ended transmissions with XXX - the Roman numerals for 30.

The Missouri Press News, in 1980 when typewriters could be still heard clacking away in newsrooms, compiled a number of explanations, including:

-- Thirty pica ems was the maximum length line used in early typesetting machines. Thus "30" was the end of a line.

--"Thirty" was used to label the last dispatch when the Associated Press was established.

-- The end of the "thirty tyrants" appointed by the Spartans at the close of the Pelopennesian War to rule Athens, finally overthrown by a general rejoicing. When copyrighters finish the end of a story, they supposedly rejoice similarly.

-- Before newspapers had direct telegraph wires the operator would write at the bottom of the last sheet "3 o'clock" which was shortened to "3 o'c" then to "30".

-30-


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