The Rochester Post-Bulletin says it will not be joining a movement by some newspapers to stop using the word “Redskins” when writing stories about Washington’s NFL team.
In a post today, managing editor Jay Furst says not all members of the Post-Bulletin staff believe the name is derogatory. But, in the end, he decided not to take sides.
Furst says the newspaper will not use the name in editorials and opinion columns, but will continue to use it in sports stories.
At the same time, we acknowledge that the team name is offensive to some readers, and we’ll do our best to limit use of the name — once a story ought to be enough — and we’ll limit usage in headlines and photo captions.
We’ll also be more attentive to the use of other team names that are controversial, such as the Cleveland Indians. It’s common to refer to the Indians as the “Tribe,” for example. We’ll do our best to avoid those types of racially loaded terms, especially in headlines.
I think this is a good compromise that keeps the line between opinions and news coverage bright and clear. Our credibility is our most precious asset. Our mission in the news pages is to be fair, accurate and straight down the middle, avoiding any appearance of being influenced by outside pressures.
If we were to drop usage of the Washington team name in our news and sports pages, we’d appear to be choosing sides in an ongoing national debate. That would raise questions about the impartiality of our coverage, maybe not only on this issue but on others as well.
Furst says the “vast majority” of journalists around the country agree that news organizations
should shouldn’t take sides on the issue.
Archive: For media, ‘Redskins’ use question should not be hard (NewsCut).