We don’t need editors, we’re the press!

Via Jim Miller comes a story about parents who made their daughter famous in a way they didn’t intend. Not a particularly compelling story, though as Jim notes one has to sympathize with the school administrators. What struck me was that ABC spelled the child’s name in two different ways in the first couple of paragraphs of the story. (Photo is highlighted to show the discordant spellings.) I know that anyone can make errors of this type, but how does a major news organization manage to bollix up someone’s name in such an obvious way and then not detect it? Aren’t there proofreaders? Let’s see how long it takes them to catch the error.

8 thoughts on “We don’t need editors, we’re the press!”

  1. I’m not sure how the TV networks work, but newspapers that have moved to more-or-less 24-hour coverage can have a ton of (often minor or style) mistakes on their online coverage. Mistakes that basically don’t get fixed until the evening when the copy desk reads the story. But that’s only if it’s going in the next day’s paper. Big errors like that I would assumed would get picked up by someone, but it might be somebody calling or e-mailing in from the public.
    I’m sure ABC News have some sort of staff to check this, but I don’t know how much detailed editing is a priority (or a budgeted item, to be fair to the staffers).

  2. On-line news is often not only the beta version of print, it’s the wiki version (i.e. containing both inadvertant and intentional errors).

  3. The trick for quality control is to organize the thing as a blog, require contributors to use spellcheck and pay the editor nothing, like we do around here. Very few misspellings slip through with this ironclad system.

  4. Spell checking names, like fact checking facts, isn’t easily automated. Obvious misspelling of a name makes you wonder what else the writer got wrong.

  5. If they do all the other stuff, they’ll have time to check the names, by, like, you know, asking people the correct spelling and writing it down. Plus, spellcheck would catch the same name being spelled two different ways, if you are paying attention.

  6. Could be worse. My last blog post was on a new Spanish ptranslation of 23 stories by O. Henry that calls him “O’Henry” as if he were Irish. The mistake is not just on the web, but printed on the cover of the book.

  7. Very smart to complain publicly. Now, instead of 200 people looking at the picture briefly in passing, thousands will now see it on the internet. When one googles her name, this story will appear.

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