Why we did what we did
The Aspen Times received a number of complaints yesterday about our use of the “F” word in a front-page article about The Offspring concert held outdoors in the middle of downtown.
It goes without saying, we expected the complaints when we made the decision to quote the band in the article. The use of profanity in news stories is part of an ongoing discussion at this newspaper. It’s not something we take lightly, and we address each situation on a case-by-case basis.
Have we always made the right decision in the past? Not by a long shot. But we learn a little more each time the situation arises.
Did we make the right decision in this instance? Maybe. Maybe not.
To summarize our “policy” on the use of profanity in news articles, we believe it is proper when it is used in such a way that it helps define a story, when it paints the full picture of what we are reporting on. When profanity doesn’t add anything to a story, then we don’t use it. In those instances it’s simply being used as a shock tactic, which we attempt to steer away from.
Some may argue that we could have simply reported that the band used profanity throughout the show. However, it was our opinion that such an approach didn’t accurately portray what took place on the streets of Aspen Tuesday night.
The Offspring put on a show of high-octane, full-on energy unlike anything ever seen before in this town. The band’s quotes, we felt, summed up that picture ” that feeling ” better than any description our reporter could have written. Thus, we decided to let The Offspring tell our readers what it felt like to be there in their own words.
As with every case, there are readers who will agree and disagree with our decision. For those people who were offended by the language in the article, we apologize. It was never our intention to be offensive or to use the words just for the sake of using them. We will take your comments to heart and include them in our discussion the next time we find ourselves in this situation.
” Mike Hagan, editor