Poll: Is swearing a problem in your @#&^% newsroom?

People who swear suffer from diminished career prospects, according to a national survey of hiring managers and employees.

Sixty-four percent of employers said that they’d think less of an employee who repeatedly uses curse words, and 57 percent said they’d be less likely to promote someone who swears in the office. …

Half (51 percent) of workers reported that they swear in the office. The majority of those (95 percent) said they do so in front of their co-workers, while 51 percent cuss in front of the boss. Workers were the least likely to use expletives in front of senior leaders (13 percent) and their clients (7 percent).

The swearingest city in the U.S., according to the survey? Washington-mudderfargin’-D.C., which caused this blogger to let loose a stream of celebratory oaths. Feck yeah, motherfathers*!

In New York City, which has a T-shirt celebrating its foul-mouthed ways, only 46 percent of respondents said they swore at work, compared with 62 freakin’ percent in the nation’s capital. (Other cities that swore more than New York: Atlanta. Minneapolis. Phoenix. Phoenix, for fug’s sake!)

Note that both New York and Washington are major media centers, which we can safely assume account for their share of positive responses.

I did an informal poll of employed reporters — didn’t take long — most of whom told me they felt an “average” or “standard” amount of swearing went on in their newsrooms. I’ve worked with enough people with paint-peeling vocabularies, though, to make me think “average” is perhaps relative. So I’m interested in learning whether Poynter readers need to have their mouths washed out with soap.

*Full disclosure: No profanities have ever sullied Poynter’s temple of journalism in St. Petersburg, Fla., and this blog post is not going to threaten that run.

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  • http://twitter.com/tombebbington Tom Bebbington

    Having worked in both a lumberyard and a newsroom, I can say with a good deal of certainty that reporters swear more than builders.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fbondini.bond Frank Bond

    Many, many newsrooms have a SWEAR JAR, maintained by someone who strives to parlay an offensive indulgent into a virtuous asset. I can remember more than one occasion on which a reporter would stand pumping dollar bills into the jar before entering a “frank and open discussion” with the news director or a show producer over story placement, or coverage decisions on the news of the day. THOSE were the days my friend!

  • Anonymous

    I was on a shoot with a Navy Seal team. We managed to get stuck in the mud… resulting in some colorful language from those forced to wade out into the mud and push. As they were admonished for their language and reminded there was a lady present, one responded with, “She works in TV.” I was shocked to realize those of us working in TV had a reputation for speech on par with a sailor.

  • Anonymous

    Most journalists never swore until they worked in a newsroom

  • http://twitter.com/monkeyrotica monkeyrotica

    You yellow rat bastard! SAY IT TO MY FACE!

  • Anonymous

    Once upon a time you could conceive children on the anchor desk. Now you can’t even use the word. I’m gettin’ old. Shut me up, Sundance. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002095290700 George Pyle

    The Buffalo News newsroom, particularly the editorial board, was the only place in town I did not hear frequent swearing.
    The Salt Lake Tribune newsroom, particularly the editorial board, is the only place in town I do hear frequent swearing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14208677 Ginger Christ