Reporta, Please

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Photo: NYTimes.com


It's hard being a reporter. Sometimes you have to cover wars. Sometimes you have to accept silly assignments. And sometimes you have to figure out how to write about a universally reviled term without actually using the term itself. As the City Council marches toward a moratorium on a word that, according to the proposed resolution banning it, means "a lazy person with no self-respect or regard for family," we checked on how news accounts are creatively avoiding the N-word.

• "[T]he granddaddy of racial slurs, the one burdened by so much pernicious history that it rarely sees daylight anymore in most publications." [NYT]
• "A vulgar term for black people." [NYS]
• "The vile term." [S.I. Advance]
• "The n-bomb." [NYP]
• "For the record: a term of endearment, it's not." [Marcia Harris, founder of bantheword.org, quoted in Newsday]
• "It can just mean 'dude.'" [WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show]