First they banned journalism from newsrooms in favor of advocacy (apparently). Now the York Daily Record’s publisher wants to ban profanity. Publisher Sara Glines doesn’t want to hear it, even when the computer system crashes on deadline. Her memo:
“I’ve heard some troubling conversations recently, so I want to remind all employees that cursing is not appropriate in the work environment. … I know that newspapers have had a salty history and culture. And I know that we all will slip from time to time. Still, I believe we can express ourselves adequately without the use of profanity. Let’s clean up our language and make this a workplace that anyone can feel comfortable in.”
WTF? Is this sh** for real? Swear words have been tossed around newsrooms forever, but in this era they almost always come from women. (“Hey Angela, a gang of longshoremen just came through on a tour; I think they were offended by your language. You kiss your boyfriend with that mouth?”)
Anyway, that memo from January 2015 (I know it’s old, just saw it) wound up on the website of Jim Romenesko, who has covered newsroom doings for nearly as long as they have been declining. With it was a companion memo from Ms. Glines about the banning of Mountain Dew and Snickers bars from vending machines.
The twin memos inspired a string of comments, including this from Brian O’Connor of the Detroit News: “Good thing she’s not a micro-managing fusspot. And I imagine her paper must be rolling in the profits and pulling in the Pulitizers if this is how she spends her time. Of course, most of the cursing is likely reserved for the poor readers who are asking ‘WTF?!’ when greeted with hard-hitting local news such as: ‘Teams demonstrate old logging techniques at Farm Show.’ ”
A quick check of Ms. Glines’ career shows she is moving up the ladder, having just been appointed president and publisher of The News & Observer of Raleigh. She takes over today. Staffers there are advised stock up on candy bars. Soon there may be a black market.