-30- has been traditionally used by journalists in North America to indicate the end of a story or article that is submitted for editing and typesetting. It is commonly employed when writing on deadline and sending bits of the story at a time, via telegraphy, teletype, electronic transmission, or paper copy, as a necessary way to indicate the end of the article. It is also found at the end of
A press release is an official statement delivered to members of the news media for the purpose of providing information, an official statement, or making an announcement. A press release is traditionally composed of nine structural elements, inc ...
There are many theories as to how the usage came into being, and why it is found in North America but not in other Anglophone nations. One theory is that the journalistic employment of -30- originated from the number's use during the
American Civil War
The American Civil War (also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865, fought between northern U.S. state, states loyal to the Union (American Civil War), Union and south ...
era in the 92 Code
shorthand, where it signified the end of a transmission and that it found further favor when it was included in the Phillips Code
of abbreviations and short markings for common use that was developed by the
The Associated Press (AP) is an American Nonprofit organization, non-profit news agency headquartered in New York City. Founded in 1846, it operates as a cooperative, unincorporated association. Its members are U.S. newspapers and broadcasters. AP ...
wire service. Telegraph operators familiar with numeric wire signal
s such as the 92 Code used these railroad codes to provide logistics instructions and Train order operation, train orders, and they adapted them to notate an article's priority or confirm its transmission and receipt. This meta-data would occasionally appear in print when typesetters included the codes in newspapers, especially the code for "No morethe end", which was presented as "- 30 -" on a typewriter.
A poignant example appeared in a sketch by famed World War II, WWII cartoonist Bill Mauldin who, in paying tribute to equally famed WWII battle correspondent Ernie Pyle just killed in action in the Pacific War by a Japanese sniper, simply drew an old-style correspondent's typewriter with a half-rolled sheet of paper that showed simply
This raises the question of why the number 30 was chosen by 19th century telegraphers to represent "the end". Folk etymology has it that it may have been a joking reference to the Book of John, Biblical Book of John 19:30, which, in the popular King James Version, appears as:
"30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."
In popular culture
* The 1952 film ''Park Row (film), Park Row'', about the birth of the ''New York Globe'' in 1886, ends with the word "THIRTY" displayed instead of "THE END".
* ''-30- (film), -30-'' is a 1959 motion picture about work in a Los Angeles newspaper directed by, produced by, and starring Jack Webb.
* In several ''Superman'' stories from various titles, failure by a ''Daily Planet'' employee to use this signature proved to be a plot point revealing a character's impersonation, mind control, etc.
* "30 (Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode), 30" is an episode of the television series ''Law & Order: Criminal Intent'' about a poisoned reporter.
* "-30- (The Wire), -30-" is the series finale of the television series ''The Wire'' (2002–2008), capping a season concerning the media and ''The Baltimore Sun''.
* In Quebec, a journalism magazine published by the is called ,
the French language, French word for thirty.
* Tombstone (typography)
* End-of-transmission character
* Number sign#Other uses, ###