Print the f***ers
The third option is laughable. If everyone knows what word is being said, one might as well write the word.
It depends on the publication and the demographics of its readership.
I agree with Trilby. If you are going to just use the first letter and blank out the rest, everyone will know what word was used so might as well use the whole thing. ******* is better.
I agree with Vidableek.
I wouldn't say that it is laughable. For one, younger children reading the article (despite the unlikeliness of this happening) then they probably wouldn't have a clue as to what the word is. The mast majority of adults, on the other hand, would know what word the author is referring to. Then again I usually find that the asterisks make an article seem a little less obscene, even if I know what it is being referred to. :P