Pubcasters raise issue with vulgarity in Newsweek

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Three pubcasting stations have complained to the Pledge Partner Magazine Premium Program that Newsweek, one of several magazines offered as a gift in exchange for donations, has been using more vulgarities since its merger with the Daily Beast website, reports the New York Times. Zunk Buker, founder of Pledge Partner, describes it as a “minor firestorm.”

Bill Sanford, g.m. of Lakeland Public Television in Bemidji, Minn., told station execs in a recent e-mail that a major donor had complained. Sanford agreed, and said he wanted the station “to offer premiums that reflect our values.”

Stephen Colvin, chief executive of the Newsweek Daily Beast Co., told the Times in an e-mail: “We are very proud of our partnership with public broadcasting stations.” Justine Rosenthal, executive editor of Newsweek, said, “We do not use profanity unless within a quote or in the context of a story and care is taken to ensure it is never used gratuitously.”

The Pledge Partner program has made some $375 million for pubstations since its inception in 1991, according to Buker; since 1996 when it was first offered, Newsweek brings in about 90 percent of the money.

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