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.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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