1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

How would you have handled this?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mr. X, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    The following appeared in a story of ours: "the broadcast ... used the n-word." (The ellipses eliminate part of the broadcast that would lead us to be identified.)

    If I was editing that night, I would have gone with "the broadcast ... used the epithet known as the N word."

    What would you have done?
  2. mb

    mb Active Member

    OK, I'll jump first. Why add extra words?
  3. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    Just wanting to explain what the "N word" is. That is probably what The New York Times would have done.
  4. Den1983

    Den1983 Active Member

    Everyone knows what the "n-word" is. I agree, no need for the extra words.
  5. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Active Member

    Did I read this right? Is part of the debate here the usage of "n-word" vs. "N word"? Does it really matter?

    What does AP Style Book say?
  6. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    No need for the extra words. Most people are familiar that the n word is an epithet for that word, I don't believe it needs extra explanation
  7. mediaguy

    mediaguy Well-Known Member

    Why the initial ellipsis? What are you afraid of identifying?
  8. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    reiterating for mediaguy :)
  9. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    I think the phrase "the n-word" or "N word" is known commonly enough to stand on its own.

    Something feels weird about the phrase though. It has a hint of a playground tone that doesn't belong in a serious news story. It's certainly clearer than just saying "a racial slur against black people," but can anyone think of a better way to put it? My brain's a bit scrambled right now.
  10. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    Either way is fine. Let's not drown in a sea of our own bullshit here.
  11. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    It really depends on the context, I'd say. Generally speaking, I'm in the camp that thinks the phrase "the N-word" sounds like a kindergarten tattler in action. ("Oooh, Billy said the 'N-word'!") We're grownups. We should write accordingly.

    If you're dealing with a straight news story, particularly if the use of the word IS the story, then you've got to clarify with appropriate language ("... used a derogatory term for black people ...") for the sake of being taken seriously.

    (There are some who'll argue that, in a news story, you should spell out the word for absolute specificity. I cannot entirely disagree with that philosophy, but I do believe that if you can avoid using it, you're better off making every effort to do so, unless it's essential to know exactly which derogatory term was used.)

    If it's a column, a feature or a notebook -- or any other circumstance that bears informality -- you probably can get away with just writing "the N-word" and moving on ... as long as you don't mind the appearance of sanitizing your writing for the sake of so many delicate eyes.
  12. mediaguy

    mediaguy Well-Known Member

    Understand now. Thanks.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page