Controversy sparked over The Coast cover profanity
Published Friday, October 21, 2011 6:30PM ADT
A free weekly newspaper in Halifax is famous for pushing the limits, but now some people think The Coast may have gone too far.
This week's edition features profanity prominently on the cover, but not just for profanity's sake. F—ked Up is a Toronto-based punk group and they're headlining at the Halifax Pop Explosion music festival on Saturday.
"They're a Polaris-prize winning band," explains arts editor Stephanie Johns. "They're a headlining band for the festival. It made sense for us to put them on the cover."
But not everyone agrees.
David Swick teaches journalism ethics at the University of King's College and he says the decision to put F—ked Up on the cover is a risky one. While he's not surprised The Coast –an alternative publication – used this kind of language, Swick says he is surprised to see it grace the cover.
"I saw it and I almost fell over," says Swick. "There are boxes all over town at street level, down where eight-year-old kids are, and those kids are going to see this and their parents are going to turn into grizzly bears."
The Coast has boxes all over the city which display the latest edition, so anyone in the Halifax Regional Municipality could potentially come across the cover, without meaning to. And roughly 65,000 Haligonians read The Coast each week.
CTV News spoke to people on the streets of Halifax to get their reaction.
"It's pretty intense, I don't know," said one resident. "That's a little much for me I'd say."
"It definitely got my attention," said another.
And some people say that's the point. Chris Keevil runs an advertising agency and he says the fact that people are talking about it, means The Coast has accomplished its mission.
"With so much going on and social media and digital channels and the proliferation of all media, without a doubt it gets harder for all channels to be heard and everyone has to work a little harder to get their message to the top of the pile," says Keevil.
But The Coast maintains it isn't trying to make a stir up controversy, it is simply trying to promote the band and the upcoming music festival. It also says it is standing behind the decision.
"If they were named Little Flowers we would have put them on the cover," says Johns.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell