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".


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

kunews@ku.edu | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045

KU Today

Subscribe to our daily newsletter covering research, academics, media coverage, campus news, events & more. Subscribe




The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university’s programs and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies and are the Title IX coordinators for their respective campuses: Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 West Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS 66045, 785-864-6414, 711 TTY (for the Lawrence, Edwards, Parsons, Yoder, and Topeka campuses); Director, Equal Opportunity Office, Mail Stop 7004, 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Fairway, KS 66205, 913-588-8011, 711 TTY (for the Wichita, Salina, and Kansas City, Kansas, medical center campuses).