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The word ‘readout’ has recently started appearing in various U.S. news reports in a sense that seems to be relatively new: a public summary of a meeting, or a phone conversation, which was not itself public (but was not secret either), prepared by (the staff of) one of the parties to it. How did this word end up serving that purpose? What is being read here? Out of what? Why is calling something a readout supposed to be more useful than calling it a summary or a press release?

(US) An official statement summarizing the points discussed during a meeting or phone call between diplomats or political figures.

  • ‘the White House readout of the call came after the prime minister postponed a key speech on the European Union’

(ODO)

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    A "readout" is the value reported by some measuring instrument. So it's being used metaphorically to mean a somewhat mechanical small bit of reportage. (Or something the reporter would like you to believe is mechanical, and hence not "colored" by the reporter's prejudices.) – Hot Licks Feb 18 '18 at 21:14
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    It is probably an extension of the computer meaning, the output of information from a computer in readable form. – user240918 Feb 18 '18 at 21:14
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    It seems to be more specific than a press release, which is usually a very general announcement about a change or action. – Barmar Feb 19 '18 at 20:42
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    I think Hot Licks, et al, are correct… and I regret to prophecy it will be no time at all until that "readout" is merged into "read" and hey… we did all see today's difference between "readout" and "read" didn't we? – Robbie Goodwin Feb 19 '18 at 22:49

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