Friday, April 19, 2019


The Mueller Report, which offered both new evidence that President Trump engaged in improper action, but stopped short of declaring him a criminal, drew interesting coverage on Thursday and today.

One of the most significant parts of the lengthy report -- posted verbatim on several news sites -- was the quote attributed to Trump after he was told that the investigation had been launched in May 2017.

According to Mueller's report, Trump stated, “Oh, my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”

The use of such profanity in any news story or a quote has often been done in a censored manner, such as "f---ed" or noting only that it was an "expletive deleted."

But in coverage of the report, several major newspapers chose to print the entire word. The New York Times had it in two stories that began on the front page, while The Washington Post used it in 11 different stories related to the report since its release Thursday, including its lead Page One story. But the word does not appear in the Post's print story until the jump page. 

Danielle Rhodes, The New York Times Company vice-president of communications, said via email that this was not the first time that word was used on Page One, adding, "The Times has previously published that word in a quote, including on the front page. Though we rarely publish obscene or vulgar words, our stylebook guidance allows their use when editors believe readers 'need to know the exact words' to understand a newsworthy event."

Similar uses of the uncensored word were found in the Los Angeles Times. But a search online found few other major newspapers using the complete word, although several magazines and online outlets used it.

Several newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, used an Associated Press story on the report that censored the word as "f---ed".

The Associated Press Stylebook, considered the bible for news writing decisions, gives editors leeway in using such profanity, especially in a quote. It states, in part:

AP Style holds that you should not use obscenities in stories unless they are part of direct quotations and there is a compelling reason for them. Try to find a way to give the reader a sense of what was said without using the specific word or phrase. If a profanity, obscenity, or vulgarity must be used, flag the story at the top with a warning. 

Confine the offending language, in quotation marks, to a separate paragraph that can be deleted easily by editors who do not want to use it.

If a full quote that contains an obscenity, profanity, of vulgarity cannot be dropped but there is no compelling reason for the offensive language, replace the letter of the offensive word with hyphens, using only an initial letter. In some stories or scripts, it may be better to replace the offensive word with a generic descriptive in parenthesis, e.g. (vulgarity) or (obscenity).

Monday, April 15, 2019


The New York Times, The Washington Post and Reuters were the big winners at the Pulitzer Prizes on Monday, winning two awards each in the journalism category, while the South Florida Sun-Sentinel took the coveted public service prize and three awards were given to works related to Donald Trump's questionable actions.

Other prizes went to the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, ProPublica, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Advocate of Baton Rouge, La., and cartooning freelancer Darrin Bell.

The mass shootings in Maryland, Florida and Pennsylvania also accounted for honors in three separate acknowledgements, while two awards were given in the international journalism category for atrocities oversees

The Pulitzer Board gave kudos to two publications that were affected by those horrible shootings in 2018: the student paper, The Eagle Eye, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, MD.

At the beginning of the announcement ceremony, Pulitzer Administrator Dana Canedy highlighted the work done by students at The Eagle Eye as they covered the Feb. 14 shooting that left 17 students and staff dead.

She later announced that a special citation was being given to the Gazette staff for their bravery in putting out a paper and online coverage of the shooting in its newsroom on June 28 that resulted in the deaths of four staffers.

See the entire list of journalism Pulitzers below:


Public Service

For exposing failings by school and law enforcement officials before and after the deadly shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Breaking News Reporting

For immersive, compassionate coverage of the massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue that captured the anguish and resilience of a community thrust into grief.

Investigative Reporting

For consequential reporting on a University of Southern California gynecologist accused of violating hundreds of young women for more than a quarter-century.

Explanatory Reporting

For an exhaustive 18-month investigation of President Donald Trump’s finances that debunked his claims of self-made wealth and revealed a business empire riddled with tax dodges. 

Local Reporting

For a damning portrayal of the state’s discriminatory conviction system, including a Jim Crow-era law, that enabled Louisiana courts to send defendants to jail without jury consensus on the accused’s guilt.

National Reporting

For uncovering President Trump’s secret payoffs to two women during his campaign who claimed to have had affairs with him, and the web of supporters who facilitated the transactions, triggering criminal inquiries and calls for impeachment.

International Reporting

For relentless reporting that exposed the brutal killing campaign behind Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

For expertly exposing the military units and Buddhist villagers responsible for the systematic expulsion and murder of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, courageous coverage that landed its reporters in prison.

Feature Writing

For a series of powerful, intimate narratives that followed Salvadorian immigrants on New York’s Long Island whose lives were shattered by a botched federal crackdown on the international criminal gang MS-13.


For bold columns that exposed the malfeasance and injustice of forcing poor rural Missourians charged with misdemeanor crimes to pay unaffordable fines or be sent to jail.


For trenchant and searching reviews and essays that joined warm emotion and careful analysis in examining a broad range of books addressing government and the American experience.

Editorial Writing

For editorials written with extraordinary moral clarity that charted the racial fault lines in the United States at a polarizing moment in the nation’s history.

Editorial Cartooning

For beautiful and daring editorial cartoons that took on issues affecting disenfranchised communities, calling out lies, hypocrisy and fraud in the political turmoil surrounding the Trump administration.

Breaking News Photography

For a chilling image that reflected the photographer’s reflexes and concentration in capturing the moment of impact of a car attack during a racially charged protest in Charlottesville, Va.

Feature Photography

For brilliant photo storytelling of the tragic famine in Yemen, shown through images in which beauty and composure are intertwined with devastation. (Moved by the jury from Breaking News Photography, where it was originally entered.)


Watch the Pulitzer announcement live below: