Commentary: The News no place for vulgarities

As a faithful reader of The News, I picked up a copy of last week’s paper and read it, cover to cover, as I do every week. When I got to Rachel Slajda’s column, “A Girl’s Right to Swear,” I was not only extremely disappointed, I was appalled.

As a journalism major, I understand some of the frustration she expresses. I do not particularly like when editors change my words, either. But it is part of being a journalist, and if she cannot handle it, she is in the wrong industry.

And since when is swearing funny? As someone who claims to be hilarious, Slajda should be able to get her point across without vulgarity. Using swear words is a cheap way to add some shock value and nothing more.

I understand The News is a student paper. It is not The New York Times, it is not the Wall Street Journal, but why shouldn’t it strive to be? Never have I seen Maureen Dowd, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, slip crude language into her writing. And yes, Slajda is right, the majority of The News’ readers are above the age of consent and will not be offended by the use of strong language, but that has nothing to do with it. Cursing is unprofessional, as is whining about one’s editors in one’s own column.

I feel it is completely reasonable for The News to review swearing case by case. Sometimes, as in quotes, it can be an effective way to get one’s point across (and can even be necessary). Oftentimes, as is usually the case with Slajda, it should not be printed.

So, Rachel Slajda, you asked for my opinion and this is it: your constant swearing makes The News look bad, makes you look bad and makes me want to stop reading your column.

– Chelsea Reil is a freshman journalism major.

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