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The Wall Street Journal usually has a quirky article on the bottom of the front page, on anything from paper clips to tugboat racing to borscht manufacturers. Their name for it is an A-hed. Is there a generic term for this? (I've seen a similar concept in other papers, on a less regular basis)

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A generic term for a funny/exotic story? Or for the quirky story on the front page? –  Chad Sep 15 '11 at 17:30
    
To be more specific, I would say: quirky article published by mainstream newsmedia, often with a specific location in print media. –  Jason S Sep 15 '11 at 17:42
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closed as too localized by T.E.D., Daniel, Matt Эллен, simchona, z7sg Ѫ Sep 16 '11 at 13:11

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3 Answers

WSJ claims to have invented both the term and the technique, but you could call it a "general interest column". Or perhaps the "writers column" or "editors column". Some people simply describe it as a "middle column", but I don't know if that term describes the page formatting or the content of the A-hed.

Also, it's worth noting that "hed" is shorthand for headline.

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I think you covered all three key parts: the WSJ created that particular version, the broader version is called a "general interest column", and that "A-hed" is a headline on the first (A) page. +1! –  Charles Sep 16 '11 at 6:32
    
The term is probably true but I do have a few papers from the 1800's that have these human interest features as well. So I doubt that the WSJ actually invented the technique. –  Chad Sep 16 '11 at 15:52
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The term would be a Feature.

Generically it could also be called a Column

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The term I would use to describe such a story is pot pourri, as it can refer to a variety of similar object collected together.

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Why pot-pourri? What does an A-hed have in common with a fragrant collection of flowers? –  Eldroß Sep 16 '11 at 12:08
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@Eldross: Pot pourri can refer to a collection of THINGS as well as flowers. (At least it did on an American TV show called Jeopardy. –  Tom Au Sep 16 '11 at 12:52
    
I took the liberty of editing this info into your answer. Feel free to reverse, or change further if you are not pleased with my change. –  Eldroß Sep 16 '11 at 12:58
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