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)

  • A generic term for a funny/exotic story? Or for the quirky story on the front page?
    – Chad
    Sep 15, 2011 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, 2011 at 17:42

3 Answers 3


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.

  • 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, 2011 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, 2011 at 15:52
  • I disagree that this question should be closed (appealing to readers of the WSJ is a pretty large basis). Here is a great article that mentions the origin of the "A" in "A-hed" (the shape of the headline): cjr.org/the_audit/a_quality_barometer_for_the_wa.php
    – Thomas
    Jan 7, 2017 at 14:10

The term would be a Feature.

Generically it could also be called a Column


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.

  • Why pot-pourri? What does an A-hed have in common with a fragrant collection of flowers?
    – Eldroß
    Sep 16, 2011 at 12:08
  • 1
    @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, 2011 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, 2011 at 12:58

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