We're building a layout for a big newspaper with lots of customizable content blocks for different needs. One of the requests is what they call "Catastrophe Block": a special block that will show up on front page taking the full width of the layout, with bigger font and abundant use of images and/or infographics.

Now we're building this section, and I could go with that name, since they are already using it. However, this will be used by 200+ different editors, and the block will be used for any kind of important content, not necessarily a catastrophe. For example: a sports final, elections, some huge entertainment news (like Oscars awards) and so on. Besides, I'd like to avoid negative connotations.

In short: I can't find a proper name for this (and to make it worse, the newspaper is in English). What would be the correct name for this kind of section in media industry?


I'm not looking for opinions. I could call it "Breaking News" (which is the taxonomy the element will use). I'm wondering if there's an accepted and DOCUMENTED standard name for this

  • 2
    It is entirely possible that calling it a "catastrophe block" is industry jargon, in which case you should use it when working in/with that industry. Check with your actual user market to be sure. Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 11:53
  • yes, that's what I thought. But I asked the client and the PM said it's how HE and the UI designer calls it, hence why I'm asking if there's an standardized convention
    – Devin
    Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 16:39

6 Answers 6


You ask for documented names for this type of content. Twitter's Bootstrap (a very popular CSS/JS framework) uses the term jumbotron to describe this kind of content.

Jumbotron example

Their description of this element is:


Lightweight, flexible component for showcasing hero unit style content.

A lightweight, flexible component that can optionally extend the entire viewport to showcase key marketing messages on your site.


I believe you're talking about a ‘News Ticker' or a ‘News Marquee'. Everyone else's suggested terms are still pretty good though.

  • News Ticker
  • News crawler
  • News crawl
  • News slide
  • News Marquee



It seems the proper name in journalism industry is redletter:

source: The News Manual

An important breaking news story. From the newspaper practice of highlighting an exclusive, breaking news story in red type.

source: Journalism.uk

Redletter - Exclusive, breaking news coverage of a major news event, printed in red type.

Doing a search on Google, it seems this comes from Red Letter, with 2 possible disambiguation meanings:

  1. Red Letter Day

A red letter day (sometimes hyphenated as red-letter day or called scarlet day in academia) is any day of special significance or opportunity. Its roots are in classical antiquity; for instance, important days are indicated in red in a calendar dating from the Roman Republic (509–27 BC). In medieval manuscripts, initial capitals and highlighted words (known as rubrics) were written in red ink. The practice was continued after the invention of the printing press, including in Catholic liturgical books. Many calendars still indicate special dates and holidays in red instead of black.

  1. Red letter edition

Red letter edition bibles are those in which the Dominical words—those spoken by Jesus Christ, commonly only those spoken during His corporeal life on Earth—are printed rubricated, in red ink. This is a modern practice derived from the art and Roman Catholic practice in mediaeval scriptoria of rubricating headings, leading letters of sectional text, and words of text in manuscripts for emphasis, similar to italicization

User Testing

With the help of the PM, I surveyed several of the editors (12 editors, 11 completed answers) using open answers and they answered the block should be named as "breaking news block" or "breaking news splash", or "splash block".

After that, I did a moderated test with 2 questions:

  1. asked what would they think if they see the word redletter. Answers were unanimous: yes, they recognize that word without a doubt.
  2. Asked about what kind of UI element they would expect from that word, all answers were: a featured breaking news with prominent visuals (size, typography, imagery, etc.)

Additionally, they all expect the color red to be there somewhere. Most answers specifically said: White text title on red background. This is interesting because we didn't consider the color, which is very different to the blue the element will use according to UI provided. I guess it's something we'll need to test out as well


"Above-the-fold hero image space" ?


I've heard

  • Masthead

  • Hero banner


You could always go with

  1. Breaking News
  2. Just In
  3. Happening Now

In UX terms in the past I have called this

  1. Utility Nav/Zone
  2. Above the header notification zone

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