Mailbox: Rated R for Really Sad : NPR Ombudsman A listener wrote the ombudsman in meaningful jest asking NPR to add another warning to its programming. Not about violence or gore, but sorrow.
NPR logo Mailbox: Rated R for Really Sad

Mailbox: Rated R for Really Sad

Occasionally we receive an email that makes us smile. If only all sad things in life came with a "Grab your Kleenex!" warning.


Here's my question:

The second that a story's content includes anything sexual, violent, vulgar, etc., the hosts on "Morning Edition" or "All Things Considered" are always careful to announce that the upcoming piece includes mature themes, so heads up, hide the kids, etc.

But when you put on a story that's a crazy tearjerker, a story that has me sniffing/sobbing in sympathy, sadness, sweetness, etc., no warning at all. The story about the Army bombsquad man whose wife died while defusing a bomb he called in? Nothing. The Story Corps story about the man with his adopted daughter? Nothing.

I don't know how to phrase it, or how to decide for certain if it's needed, but you need to issue some kind of warning. Grab your Kleenexes! or something like that.

Mostly kidding, but not entirely. You NPR folks all talk about "driveway moments." How about DWW (driving while weeping)? Diane Rehm always tells folks to pull over if they're driving and calling in to her show.

What about pulling over before a tearjerker story so you don't get involved in a tear-blurred fender bender?


Washington, D.C.

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