Guidance On The Vulgar Word Attributed To The President:

These notes were sent to NPR journalists on Jan. 12, 2018:

1. With the president having now addressed the reports, we feel is it necessary to say the word “shithole” so that listeners have the full context.

But, the word should be heard very sparingly. No more than one use of the word each hour in the main shows is enough. Newscast, as you always do, stagger the reports.

Don’t include it in the body of spots that will be repeated throughout the day. Do give listeners a heads-up that a vulgar word is coming their way. We of course will continue to add the context that makes clear why this is important. Obviously, the president’s tweet is important information.

There are strong editorial reasons for taking this step and we should be clear about those reasons in the discussions we have on the air. The reports about the language used in the meeting have affected negotiations over DACA, they have had diplomatic repercussions and they are renewing charges of racism aimed at the president. For the audience to understand what’s happening, given the president’s denial, we feel it’s important for them to get all the information.

2. Don’t put the word “shithole” in NPR-branded tweets or other social media posts that pop into our audience’s feeds. It’s basically the same thinking we have about not putting the word in headlines or teasers. We don’t want the word to pop into folks’ feeds. They should have to click to open up a story where it will be. On window titles: if the word is in the body of the story, you may use it in the window title. Otherwise, do not.

And on the Jan. 12 All Things Considered:

Why NPR Decided To Spell Out And Say Vulgar Word Used By President Trump

(“Memmos;” Jan. 17, 2018)

January 17, 2018

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