Welcome to Springfield, MO.
Behind a city of extraordinary talents, some of the old ways die hard. In the April 29th edition of the Springfield News-Leader, columnist Joe Snider penned a piece entitled, “Americans don’t owe slave descendants any apologies” in which he referred to black youths as “colored.”
Hey – I’m all for free speech (I share Jon Stewart’s recent outrage over the South Park fiasco), but I’m also a believer in writers taking responsibility for their words…and recognizing when ill-suited anachronisms do more harm than good.
Journalism Professor Andy Cline (a fellow Missouri State University Faculty member) does a better job than I could on explaining just what’s so absurd, out-of-date, and just plain idiotic about using a perjorative prohibited by AP style, as well as offending the SPJ Code of Ethics — in addition to be socially, culturally, and historically offensive.
Then scratch your head because how a city with such talent & potential–with hearts the size of the Grand Canyon–can have this kind of ham-fisted writing is about as confusing and contradictory as it can get.
UPDATE: Looks like Gannett has gotten into the game. Excerpt:
If the News-Leader is going to give readers columns with titles and mug shots, “then journalistic ethics demands” that the opinion page editor, or someone else on staff, “edit these columns and attempt to teach these pundits how to be opinion journalists.”