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We're grownups, ESPN. Just tell us the words.

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by inthesuburbs, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. inthesuburbs

    inthesuburbs Member

  2. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    We also work in places where "fucking" in bigger headline type may not go over too well. We've always tried to avoid curse words in heds here for that reason.
  3. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    suburbs: We may be, but not everyone who visits espn.com is.
  4. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Not defending Rice on any level, but if the public was allowed to hear the language used by a very high percentage of the top coaches, they'd be pretty stunned.
  5. inthesuburbs

    inthesuburbs Member

    Update: Note that I included a bad word in the title of this message, and the moderator took it out. (I suppose he's trying to say that in the next post, without saying that.)

    Well within his rights, but is there anyone here, or reading espn.com, who is unfamiliar with that word?

    More to the point: When a story is about a thing, you spell the thing out. If the story is about a public official calling someone "nigger," then the story includes the word. If the story is about a basketball coach calling players -- well, something, we're not being told what -- then you put the words in the story. The words are the story.
  6. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    I wasn't trying to say it, I did say it. Maybe unclearly - we don't use curse words in heds here. Has nothing to do with being familiar with the word, I'm quite familiar with it. One of my faves. I also work, at least for now, as do some others. IJAG has a point, too. Not everyone who reads ESPN.com is a grown-up. Nor is everyone here.

    Would your paper use "fucking?" Mine wouldn't and shouldn't.
  7. inthesuburbs

    inthesuburbs Member

    Thanks, Mod.

    Yes, if the story was about the use of a word -- any word, whatever is the worst word on your list -- then, yes, we would use the word in a story. We don't put in casual uses, don't generally quote people using curse words or profanity.

    But we're not going to be willfully blind to the news, either. Just as in any other case, if the story is about a thing, we wouldn't make the readers play Scrabble to figure out what that thing is.

    (P.S. My employer isn't a paper. Many full-time journalists these days don't work for newspapers. I realize you knew that. The presumption that all journalists work for newspapers is probably one it's about time to let go of. Like the presumption that you should not use bad words because someone might complain, even when the bad word is the subject of the story.)
  8. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    For all of ESPN's misdeeds and missteps, real and overstated, I think this one falls pretty low - it al all - on the scale. Sure we're all familiar with those words, but I think that ESPN showed some restraint and some real journalism judgment before throwing it all out there for shock value, and that's a good thing. I think it's pretty clear what those words are he used based on the clues given.

    If it's a familiarity argument - I'm sure we're all (or almost all of us) are familiar with a lot of things that we don't want to read about or see online - at least when we're checking for sports news.
  9. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    And I don't mean for my post to come across as "if only adults will see it then you should just let fly with the expletives." That's not the point.

    If your employer would use the word "nigger" instead of "racial slur" if someone were fired for using one, then it is one of the few employers out there that would. Repeating the word doesn't further the story.
  10. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Years ago, there was a hubbub when Pam Shriver screamed FUCK YOU YOU PIECE OF SHIT at Tracy Austin.
    So everyone ran BLEEP YOU YOU PIECE OF BLEEP.

    I made the argument that it was stupid, did anyone actually read that and think bleep? It was obvious what was said.
    The counter was, of course it is obvious but we can't print what was said.

    Whatever form of journalism it is -- web, print, whatever - should probably avoid using the words. Smart readers will figure it out. Those who can't are too stupid to worry about anyway.
  11. inthesuburbs

    inthesuburbs Member

    Imjustagirl, you're saying you won't use that word, when The New York Times does? How quaint. Here's a link to a search at the Times site for uses of "nigger." It lists more than 6,000, including more than thirty occasions in just the past year. It appears that most are articles where the use of the word is the issue being discussed.


    If there are words you can't say, how do discuss the use of the word?
  12. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    "How quaint?"

    Don't be a patronizing asshole. If you want to discuss the actual issue, let me know. But I'm not going to participate in your little spit-and-whistle game.
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