Baby steps at the Star Tribune

As I read today’s column by the new editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune on the paper’s use of team names and logos, the editor is aware that the Star Tribune has become something of a national laughingstock. After deliberating over the paper’s current prohibition on the use of allegedly offensive team names and logos, the paper has revised its policy to rescind the ban but to continue to respect the alleged sensitivities that produced it: “In the end, we settled on changes that go into effect today that try to strike a balance between a commitment to accuracy and the need for sensitivity. The paper will no longer ban the team names. They will appear in the paper as they come up in the news. But reporters and editors will remember that these can be loaded phrases, and that how they’re used is as important as whether they are.”
I guess it’s a baby step in the right direction, but one would have hoped that the paper would find its way to declaring the priority of accuracy over sensitivity. Toward the end of the column the editor alludes to more serious language issues involving “religious conflicts around the world, bitter divisions in the Mideast and cultural wars at home.” I wonder if it’s possible that the Star Tribune will rescind its ban on the use of the word “terrorism” in news reports of politically inspired attacks on non-American civilians — preeminently by the Arab and Iranian murderers who target them.
The column is “From the editor: News staff will use judgment on team names.”


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