Public Editor

Readers' thoughts about The Star and

Language too informal for story on sexual assault program?

04/21/2014 4:39 PM

04/22/2014 6:52 PM

I received an interesting email from a reader about a story that appeared on Page A1 of Sunday’s print edition, about the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Prevention Center

on the Fort Riley base near Junction City.

The program sounds like an admirable improvement for victims of sexual assault, but I was dismayed to read it described as a “one stop shop of services” with a “grand opening”, as if it were a trip to the mall! This struck me as a trite, insensitive description. Describing it as “a consolidation of services to reduce further traumatizing of sexual assault victims” on it’s “first day of operation” would convey a proper respect for such a serious, sensitive topic. I understand that the writer wanted the article to be accessible to the average reader, but a level of respect should have been utilized as well.

Here, the reader smartly observes that the writing style is intended to make the subject matter accessible. But I can absolutely understand her feeling that it subjectively just doesn’t feel right in her opinion.

I don’t know that the style would rub every reader the wrong way necessarily, but readers often alert me when the pursuit of variety in the use of language conveys connotations that the writer may not have intended. I’ve share this feedback with the reporter.


Join the Discussion

The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service