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Archive for April 28th, 2007

Newsrooms need dirty minds

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Friday morning the executive editor sent out an e-mail reminding the newsroom if we come across any objectionable posts in the story chats we should let her know immediately so they can be looked at and, if necessary, removed.

I don’t know if it was simply a reminder or if there’s been an upswing recently. I don’t monitor the comments as closely as most of my colleagues. I usually read the ones on my own stories and occasionally skim comments on others. Usually, I know if anything interesting is posted, someone will bring it to my attention. Case in point:

Around lunchtime yesterday, after that e-mail had gone out earlier in the day, the reporter opposite me says, “Meranda, someone posted a comment about tossed salad.” I laughed. It was on a story about a former football player being indicted on a few counts. He’ll be headed to jail for a bit. The comment was along the lines of “how does he like his tossed salad… I bet with bleu cheese.”

The EE wasn’t around, ME had someone in his office, and even our editor was MIA.

The post had been made around 11:30 a.m. and it was at least an hour after that. Plus, I told her, probably 99 percent of people would just be confused as to why someone was randomly writing about salads.

Finally, our editor returned. And she told him the same thing she told me, “someone posted a comment about tossed salad.” And he said what most people would say: “So what?” And I laughed again as she lowered her voice and explained.

Thing is, the poster wasn’t talking about leafy greens. (I’m not going to explain what it does mean, but if you’re curious, go to Urban Dictionary and look it up.) And she knew that upon seeing the comment, and I knew when she told me, which is why I laughed.

After explaining it to our editor, he headed to the ME’s office and we could hear his comment as he walked, “Those in the newsroom with dirty minds tell me we have a dirty comment posted …”

Thing is, the newsroom needs people with dirty minds. (My defense is I went to an inner-city public school. It’s pretty much unavoidable.) But seriously, without someone who knew what that meant, it would have sat there, possibly had other replies to it and been archived forever. While most people wouldn’t have known any better, those who did could take offense. Either way, it wasn’t promoting the dialogue and it wasn’t the type of comment you want on your site.

Yeah, we’re not going to know every slang term. And there are terms the older generation knows that would fly completely under my radar. That’s what’s good about having a mix. But like I said after the “those with dirty minds” comment, you need people who are going to know to flag those things.