Assault? Harassment? AP says it’s ‘Misconduct’

AP says ‘misconduct’ is a more encompassing word choice

Journalists and pundits alike are having to grapple with an ever-expanding “degree of disgusting behavior” scale as they write about allegations of sexual harassment and even sexual assault in the wake of the #metoo movement.

So it’s no wonder that questions are being raised about what language to use when describing the awful conduct the stories are documenting.

Enter the Associated Press with a new guideline that attempts to capture the scope of each aggression without diminishing it.

In a blog post Tuesday, John Daniszewski, AP’s vice president of standards, laid out his reasoning for using a new term: sexual misconduct.

“’Sexual harassment’ has a particular legal meaning. It is, per Webster’s New World College Dictionary, ‘inappropriate, unwelcome, and, typically, persistent behavior, as by an employer or co-worker, that is sexual in nature, specifically when actionable under federal or state statutes,’” he wrote. [Full story: Poynter/Anne Glover]

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