Associated Press Standards Editor Tom Kent wrote Monday about a recent rally for presidential candidate Donald Trump and two words that came up during and after that might have given some journalists a pause.

When someone at a Donald Trump rally last month shouted that Ted Cruz was “a pussy,” Trump repeated the word into the mic. A few days ago, Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham told a roomful of journalists, “My party has gone batshit crazy.”

What’s a news agency to do?

Kent pointed out two things the AP has to keep in mind:

  • The AP has its own standards, which include using vulgar and obscene quotes only when totally necessary to the story.
  • AP subscribers also have their own standards. "They vary somewhat, but most tell us to avoid gratuitous vulgarity, carrying only what’s really important."

Our point here isn’t that “pussy” or “batshit” was absolutely right or wrong to use. Opinions will vary, including among AP staffers. The most important thing is for us to discuss how important such language is to a story, before the story goes out. We also need to be in constant touch with our subscribers so we’re aware how their standards are evolving.

This isn't a new style ruling, but rather a look at the process the AP goes through when dealing with obscenity and vulgarity.

Other news organizations have explained how they grapple with these issues in the past. Last year, The New York Times' Margaret Sullivan asked if the Times' vulgarity policy still worked. In 2014, an op-ed piece in the Times made the case for using profanity. The Wall Street Journal also looked at how it permitted profanity that year, noting that standards were changing.

Use of impolite words should still be rare, but there are certain words that we’ll publish now that we wouldn’t have used a decade ago. There still has to be a compelling reason to use the quotation, including demonstrating insight into someone’s character by his or her word choices, but there are times when ass, jackass or yes, suck, may be allowed to appear, in cases where they might have been “Barney-dashed” before.

The reasoning is that we want to be classy without being Victorian, in line with the evolving language.

BuzzFeed, on the other hand, has a profanity policy built specifically for the Web.

Profanity: We speak the language of the internet — which is often hilarious and often profane. As such, profanity is permitted on BuzzFeed; but see the BuzzFeed Style Guide for more information on how to style it responsibly.