Wednesday, August 27, 2003

The KC Star's ombudsman addresses vulgarity in the newspaper: namely, why the Star chose to use the quote "It really chaps my buns" in this story.

For example, he said that the copy desk recently deleted the word “crap” in a quote in a story. “Some thought that the word was OK to use, following the argument that this word is crucial to the lively tone of the story and shows how emphatic the guy is about his point. Others thought the story held up fine without the quote.”

This reminds me of my shock when learning, on one of my first days on the job, that "sucks" was a vulgarity that would never make it in the paper. Sucks. Can you even interview a kid without him saying that, like, sucks? I've raised my sensitivity meter since, and I'd even double-check before printing "crap" or "damn" in the paper.

But newspaper readers are fleeing -- or dying -- by the thousands every week. That sucks.

And prudishness isn't going to win us any young readers. So who, exactly, is our audience?


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