LJR publishes fifth volume of glossary of journalistic expressions that every journalist in Latin America should know

It has become a tradition at LatAm Journalism Review (LJR) to start the new year with a new volume in the glossary of journalistic expressions in Spanish, Portuguese and English that every Latin American journalist should know (see the first, second, third and fourth volumes).

This time, we came across words related to foods, such as chorizo, pastel, lomito, carnita or chayote, but that have a completely different meaning in the journalistic context,

We also explain those uncomfortable moments that we journalists go through when we suffer a plantón or are enyerbados.

Some of these terms or phrases are understood anywhere in Latin America, while others are specific to a country or region.

What expression would you like to know the origin of or learn more about its use in other countries on the continent? Send your suggestions in any language to latamjournalismreview@austin.utexas.edu, or send us a message through Twitter or Facebook. We’re waiting!




No, we are not talking about the famous sausage from Latin American cuisine. In the journalistic world, and specifically in the audiovisual area, chorizo is the set of images or recordings that have not yet been finished editing.

Audiovisual journalists usually send the chorizo, also known as tripa or colchón, to the editor to add sound or additional information.

It is a popular term among Venezuelan journalists. 

In English, there is a similar phrase, “how the sausage gets made.” As the dictionary explains, it refers to the “practical and often unpleasant or messy aspects of a process that are usually not made public.” It is not specific to journalism, however.


 Chayotero / Mentero


In Latin America, there are several words to describe the act of bribing or buying a journalist. They are words that are used in a pejorative and even offensive way against press workers and, in several countries in the region, they have been popularized by politicians.

In Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador frequently uses the word “chayote” to accuse the media and journalists of having been "bought" by political interests. According to the Mexican Spanish Dictionary (DEM), chayotero is a popular adjective that refers to “a journalist or media outlet, who usually receives chayotes (literally, a kind of vegetable) or bribes.”

According to popular belief, the word dates back to the administration of then-Mexican president Lázaro Cárdenas (Dec. 1, 1934 to Nov. 30, 1940). It is said that, at the entrance for journalists to the presidential house at the time, there was a plant with several chayotes. It was there where the presidential communications team gave gifts or bribes to journalists, in exchange for them speaking well of the government.

In El Salvador, the word mentero is used to describe a journalist who receives bribes. The origin, as Salvadoran journalist Rigoberto Chinchilla wrote in 2019, comes from the 1970s when journalists kept in the left pocket of their shirts a piece of paper with the questions that the head of state would answer along with the popular mints – or menta – made by Gallito.

This list of questions was distributed by the master of ceremonies and only journalists who had been “sold” – or “vendidos” – received it.

“The mentas in Salvadoran journalism have not disappeared, they survive, they are kind of disguised gifts, they arrive as privileges, gifts, invitations, tourist coverage, stays and as benefits parallel to journalistic activity,” Chinchilla said.


É pauta / Es nota


One of the best moments for journalists is finding information that certifies that their initial hypothesis is true and getting the right angle to tell the story.

In Latin American journalistic slang, the expression “es nota,” in Spanish, and “é pauta,” in Portuguese, are used to refer to an event or discovery that has all the characteristics to become news of public interest.


Noticia o notas de color


The term noticia de color is widespread in Latin America. Journalists from countries like Mexico, Peru and Venezuela use the phrase noticias de color” (literally, news of color) to refer to “light” news stories (or “ligeras”) that put more emphasis on description than on information.

The resources used to present the information are more literary (seeking to convey emotions and feelings) than journalistic and, in some way, they distract the audience from the main problem.

“[Las notas de color] are sometimes innocuous, in others they demonstrate a lack of depth or stereotyped treatments, but in the current circumstances [of the pandemic] they may have more serious consequences, since they can contribute to confusion and even disrespect of regulations that have been issued to protect citizens from the lethality of the coronavirus,” explained Úrsula Vallejo Moreno, director of the USIL Communications program in Peru, in the newspaper El Peruano.

In English, to add “color” to an article implies adding a lot of descriptive text to enhance the telling of a story.




When we hear the word pastel (literally, cake), probably the first thing that comes to mind is a pastry shop or celebrating a birthday with cake and ice cream.

However, journalists in Brazil consider a pastel to be a spelling, grammatical or typing error – any journalist's nightmare.




A virtue that journalists must develop is patience. A journalist can spend hours waiting for a press conference to begin or trying to obtain testimony from a source.

Journalists are used to waiting and having to be flexible with their schedules. But what happens when the source doesn't appear or stops responding? In the journalistic slang of Latin America, this situation is called plantón (literally, seedling), meaning “stood up.”

“Pagar plantón” or “quedar plantada” are expressions used to indicate that the source has left us planted like a flower.

In Latin America it is common to hear this expression in other contexts, besides journalism. For example, a plantón can happen when someone is stood up on a date.




This word was a suggestion made through social networks by one of our readers. In our fourth edition of the glossary we talk about the word encochinado, popular among Venezuelan journalists, which means being overloaded with work and not having a minute to leave the newsroom.

The equivalent in Cuba is being enyerbado.

“The literal meaning is to be surrounded by ‘yerba’ [weeds]. In the countryside, when you have to clear a field of weeds and you are 'enyerbado,' you will have to work a lot to achieve the objective," Cuban reporter and cronista Darío Alejandro Escobar told LJR.

The expression “enyerbado” is not exclusive to journalism.

In English, a similar phrase is “in the weeds.” Also not specific to journalism, “in the weeds” means that you are overwhelmed with work and can’t find a clear path forward.


Lomito/ Carnita


El lomito is a soft cut of meat, such as used for medallions and filet mignon. However, in the journalistic environment, a lomito news story is considered important information, of very good quality.

The word lomito is popular among Venezuelan journalists. In Mexico the equivalent would be carnitas.

Carnitas are tender, juicy pieces of slow-cooked pork that are a staple of Mexican cuisine. But, the term is commonly heard to refer to the most substantial part of a news story, supported by hard or unpublished data.

Now that we’re sufficiently hungry, we’re going to grab something to eat. Don’t forget to send us your recommendations for the next volume of journalistic expressions that every journalist working in Latin America should know!