Archive for June 15th, 2012

Editors in Michigan face an interesting community engagement challenge and opportunity: How do you curate and join the community discussion when it centers around the word “vagina” and its synonyms?

When a big local story becomes a big national story, with equal measures of humor and outrage, that’s a huge engagement opportunity. But when it involves a word that newspaper editors tend to use with care, if at all, you engage (see, even that word can be read wrong in this context) carefully.

If you missed the background, Michigan Rep. Lisa Brown, a Democrat, used the V-word (no, I’m not going there; she said “vagina”) Wednesday on the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives, in a debate on a bill to restrict access to abortions. Her statement (which you can hear in context in the video below):

Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no.’

Brown was rebuked by House Republicans and was not allowed to speak in a Thursday debate on an unrelated issue. Charlie Crumm of the Oakland Press reports that Ari Adler, spokesman for House Speaker Jase Bolger, said Brown’s remark had “crossed the line.” (more…)

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