Saturday, September 20, 2008

"The b" pushes limits with "Douchebag" cover

The b, a free daily published by the Tribune Company's Baltimore Sun, raised a few eyebrows this week with its cover headline "Douchebag!"

The article described the qualities of such a person — "You talk about 'Lost' as if it were "The Grapes of Wrath,'" "You pretend you know how to swirl and sniff wine" and "You're a Yankees fan." It was highly subjective but a lot of fun for the 18-34 demo The b is hoping to reach.

Over at the b's mother newspaper, The Sun, a number of staffers complained to Anne Tallent, the editor of the b, and to Tim Ryan, the publisher of Sun Media Group, according to the blog of Sun copy editor and Loyola College instructor John E. McIntyre.

"Ms. Tallent responded that her readers are of a different sensibility than the readers of The Sun and are not inclined to find the word objectionable," McIntyre wrote. "She did not suggest that the members of The Sun’s staff are a bunch of dusty old fogies, but I fear that some of my colleagues may have drawn an inference."

McIntyre noted that his students don't have a problem with the words "sucks" or "scumbag," even though the latter term originally referred to a condom. But they told him that they would not have used "douchebag" in a headline.