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Regional publisher launches probe after four-letter word appears in death notice

A regional publisher has launched an investigation after foul language appeared on the obituaries page of one of its weekly newspapers.

Reach plc has apologised after the word “cunt” appeared in a draft of a death notice in this week’s edition of the Scunthorpe Telegraph.

Images of the notice, which also contained the word “cock,” were subsequently shared widely online after the Telegraph hit newsstands on Thursday.

Reach plc, which owns the paper, has confirmed it has launched a formal investigation into how the notice came to be published.

Scunthorpe notice

The full text of the offending notice reads: “COCK Forename. Please complete the following fields as you type.

“You will see a preview of your advert. Cunt.”

A Reach plc spokeswoman told HTFP: “We take this very seriously and will formally investigate how it happened.

“We especially regret any pain this may have caused to the loved ones of those featured on the page that day and will be printing a full apology.”

It is understood that the company has also refunded all readers who had obituary notices published on the same page yesterday.


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  • March 8, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    I hope no-one with this name is upset. I hear it is quite common for people to be called this.

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  • March 8, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    That’s a bad one. A very bad one. Inexcusable.

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  • March 11, 2019 at 9:46 am

    But what if you live in Scunthorpe or Cockermouth (other place names are available)?

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  • March 11, 2019 at 10:24 am

    Reminds me of the scene in ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’.

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  • March 11, 2019 at 11:14 am

    Yup! Always make sure you are prepared to go to print with your filler, just in case!

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  • March 11, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    In my part of the world, most people of a certain age were affectionately know as cock, or cocker.

    This however, is a serious fail. clearly no-one actually proofing whole pages at Reach these days.

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  • March 12, 2019 at 9:40 am

    This incident is particularly bewildering since Local World – a former incarnation of Reach – used to operate a profanity filter on its user generated content (UGC). This meant that a word, such as Scunthorpe, would appear on screen as S****horpe. If Reach operates a similar UGC profanity filter, they need to extend it to its advertising department, asap.

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