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XXX and the Dirty 30s
October 5, 2005 12:14 PM   Subscribe

Why do news releases really end with -30-? I know the rumours, but I'm looking for evidence-based references.

I work in marketing and I've heard various tales over the years. The most common one involves someone writing -xxx- to signal the end of a release and someone else coming along and interpreting that as Roman numerals. I've heard that telegraphers used to end transmissions with XXX and that some of them used -30- as short hand, although I'm not sure -30- is shorter than XXX in Morse. I've also heard less credible stories, which I won't bother to include here.

I tried Googling to find an answer, but all I could turn up were pages with no citations. I'm looking for a credible answer with references. Thanks!
posted by acoutu to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I don't think anyone knows for certain the real reason, but this site has some possible explanations as sources:

http://www.saila.com/journalism/thirty.shtml
posted by justkevin at 12:31 PM on October 5, 2005


We use ### at the end of our news releases, which is another variation on -30-.

New releases try to emulate real journalism as much as possible, which includes such trappings as 30s and the like. My firm goes so far as the send releases out in courier new, to look more like an old typewritten newspaper copy, even though few papers actually function this way anymore.

(Oddly enough, trying to search for ### returns a blank page.)
posted by me3dia at 12:45 PM on October 5, 2005


Western Union’s “92 Code” dates from 1859.
posted by hilker at 12:50 PM on October 5, 2005


me3dia, you get the same blank-page result from Google for querying almost any non-alphanumeric. Some exceptions are &, *, and _.
posted by nobody at 12:58 PM on October 5, 2005


- 30 -
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:49 AM on October 6, 2005


XXX was established a s the signoff of a telegraph during the american civil war.

30 is the value of XXX in roman numerals
posted by Svea at 5:51 AM on January 9, 2006


me3dia, I tried searching for it and Google find nothing.
posted by honorguy7 at 8:18 AM on June 26, 2006


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