I'm divided on this one, so I'm posing the question to my loyal readers to see what you think.  Thanks to my friend Alexander Russo over at This Week In Education, I found this over on Facebook and on his very good education blog. 

Here's the short version: StLtoday.com, the local daily newspaper, Friday posted an item about obscure things the writer had eaten in his life.  He asked what were other strange things others had consumed.  Well, apparently someone from a St. Louis area school wrote in a vulgar term about a woman's anatomy.  Then deleted it.  Then put it back. 

The reporter, who monitored the postings, saw the IP address for the post as you fellow bloggers know you can see when comments are made, and noted it was from a local school.  The reporter said he called the school's "Headmaster" which leads me to believe this was a private school, and the administrator narrowed down the timing and who might have sent the offensve posts.  The person was confronted later that day at school and resigned on the spot.

As can be typical with news reporters, and former news reporters such as myself, the reporter came across as gloating in explaining how all this went down.  Now fokes like Alex are calling on the reporter to lose his job, too, as they feel that this was an abuse of the reporter's position. Is that what should happen? 

  • Does a Web master or forum moderator have an obligation to contact those who make comments on a blog, especially if they're from a government body or school, and let them know that employees are using their equipment to post crude or vulgar comments? 
  • Should the STLToday.com reporter be fired for having done this? Or is the paper going to look at this as an opportunity to increase readership?  Which likely is happening.
  • What would you do?  Just delete and go on? 

  1. Richie Escovedo

    I think I would delete and move on. There are more important things in the day to keep me occupied than to perpetuate any idiocracy. Interesting post though. I wonder if the reporter was required by the paper to follow up as policy or if they chose to explore this on their own. I don’t know that it makes a difference, just curious.

  2. MIke Williams

    I think I’d move on or maybe address the poster via email to let him/her know they’ve been caught, however it is FOLKS not fokes.

  3. Daddy Claxton

    Thanks for the comment Mike. I started spelling Folks as FOKES from reading and knowing Ken Hare, the editorial page editor from The Montgomery Advertiser way back in my college and governor’s office days. It’s stuck. And is the most way fokes from them parts say it!

  4. Big Picture

    If the reporter was concerned about the vulgarity coming from a school he should have deleted it, then emailed whomever and warned them to not do it again.
    Had he done that then you can guarantee that the teacher would have known better than to post it again. If it had been a student they would have been equally concerned that things weren’t as anonymous as they thought.
    Instead the reporter jumped at the chance to act like a bigwig and tracked them down. This was way across the line in my opinion. Reporters are supposed to protect sources etc – there were no threats made or implications of anything illegal, just an inappropriate sense of humor for the workplace.
    The reporter quibbles that the teacher wasn’t fired but resigned, so the reporter sleeps fine at night. Really?

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