Profanity on Birmingham News site surprises ex-staffer who recalls when ‘butt’ was banned

Letter to Romenesko
From GREG RICHTER: I worked at The Birmingham News in Alabama for 17 years. We were not allowed to use the word “butt” in the paper because the publisher’s wife found it crude.

Today, this appeared on, the website of the News and two other Newhouse papers:


Times and management change, of course, but interestingly, many commenters noted that people have their comments deleted or their accounts suspended for using the same language.

I received a few emails about this, and I notice that the text has been changed to f—–. I should point out that I had two posts yesterday that used the word “fuck.” – Romenesko