Why ABC needs a copy editor

I don’t post many of these any more. But this one was just too funny to pass up.

Raise your hand when you see the typo.


Thanks to Vanessa Pearson of the Tulsa World for the tip.

I have so many of these wayward TV graphics in my collection. Like this one from January 2011:

Or this one from August 2010:

Who knows what Eddie Murphy was up to in September 2011?

I’m not even sure how you can type this poorly:

Or this badly. This was from ABC News in November 2011:

Or how about this really horrifying one from March 2011?

Ahem. The bear cub’s name was Knut.

And, believe it or not, that’s just scratching the surface. I have dozens of these things. Here’s my archive — knock yourself out.

For your consideration…

They want to halt low-level marijuana arrests in New York. The mayor and chief of police held a press conference Monday to show how much pot you can carry in the city, now — 25 grams — without fear of being busted.

Naturally, the pictures of this conference made for easy pickins for the New York City tabloids.


Cute. Some days, these guys just have too much fun.

Those pages are  from the Newseum. Of course.

Meanwhile, today in the Big Apple…

So, now that the World Series — of interest in the Heartland and on the West Coast — is over, what’s the big news in the Northeast?

In New York City yesterday, a construction crew was using a giant drill when it suddenly — and accidentally — punctured the top of a subway tunnel. The bit actually came into contact with an occupied train on the MTA’s F line.


Luckily, no one was hurt. Therefore, we can enjoy the headline afront today’s Daily News.


Meanwhile, the New York Post is drumming up interest fear for next week’s Midterms.


Pretty funny. I’m sure they’ll be running an illustration over the weekend making fun of Republicans, too. Fair and balanced — right, Mr. Murdoch?

Fun headline alert

From the sports front of yesterday’s Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., this headline is about San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner and his heroics in Game Seven of the World Series.


Heh. Thanks to Lisa Suhay for posting this on Facebook yesterday.

Long live the Monarch

Lead story in today’s Cincinnati Enquirer is an effort to save the vanishing Monarch butterfly.

The Monarch butterfly, you see, is very picky about where it lays its eggs. It’ll lay eggs only on a milkweed plant. Unfortunately, milkweeds are disappearing. The Cincinnati Nature Center is handing out 50,000 packets of free milkweed seeds to anyone who’ll plant them and give the Monarch butterflies a place to make their babies.

If you ignore the ugly yellow box in the upper right corner of the page, today’s Enquirer front page is gorgeous. There’s just one little problem: That ain’t a Monarch butterfly.


That’s a Tiger butterfly. Monarch butterflies have a lot more orange in them and also have a distinctive polka-dot pattern along the outer edges of its wings.


Here’s a similar shot of a tiger butterfly for comparison.


The paper has it correct in the online version of its story.


According to the cutline, the picture on page one today is a file photo. The lesson here: Never trust a caption in your archives. Always make an effort to check ’em out.

UPDATE: Sunday, 10:42 PDT

Blog reader E.L. Bayer writes to add:

The Cincinnati Enquirer graphic with the wrong butterfly also depicts the wrong plant.  It’s gomphrena, not milkweed.

The digital version likewise was in error, but corrected. The reader comments on the story you linked will tell the tale.

That page one image is from the Newseum. Of course.

When you blow your main headline on page one

A man from England is on trial for killing his wife while in South Africa.

On their honeymoon.

That’s a talker for sure. However, folks are also talking about the headline atop page one of today’s Cape Argus of Cape Town.


Gotta make sure we don’t misspell words in our display copy, folks.

My condolences to the folks at the Cape Argus.

That front page image is from PressDisplay. Thanks to my two South African friends who alerted me to this today.

Birthdays for Thursday, Aug. 21

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to five wonderful visual journalists…


Evan Backstrom is a designer at the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa. A 2012 graduate of Ball State University, Evan served as chief page designer for the student paper there, the Ball State Daily News, and interned at Stamprint Printing and the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. He went to work for Gannett two years ago. Find his web site here, his NewsPageDesigner portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.


Deb Belt is a curation editor for Patch.com sites in Maryland and Georgia. She’s based in West Des Moines, Iowa. A 1984 graduate of Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Mo., Deb spent 13 years at the Des Moines Register, as a copy editor, assistant metro editor and an editor of the Register‘s community sections. She left in 2011 to work for Patch. Find Deb’s Twitter feed here.


Allisence Chang is a special education teacher in Phoenix, Ariz. A 2008 graduate of Michigan State University, Allisence worked internships at the Somerville (Mass.) News and the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va. She also served a fellowship at the Poynter Institute in 2008 and studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador, before joining the Arizona Republic later that year as an artist and page designer. She left the Republic in 2011, earned a master’s degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University, spent some time in Thailand and then began her new career that fall. The previous summer, she studied abroad in Costa Rica. Currently, she’s finishing up work on a second master’s degree. Find her portfolio site here, her wonderful photo blog here and her Twitter feed here. Allisence turns 28 today.


Mike Emmett is a free lance reporter, photographer and web designer in Cary, N.C. A 1976 graduate of Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., Mike worked as a reporter and copy editor for a number of papers including the Gazette of Chillicothe, Ohio, the Citizen-Journal of Columbus, Ohio, Florida Today of Melbourne, the Times-Union of Jacksonville, Fla. and the Rocky Mountain News of Denver, before joining the News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., in 1992. He was one of the early pioneers of Raleigh’s web site, Nando.net, in the early 1990s before working with web operations at TotalSports, Nascar.com, the Greenville (S.C.) News and Media General.


He’s put out four novels — that I know of: 1) A horror novel called Demon, published in 2011. 2) Eva: A Ghost Story, published in 2012. 3) A collection of short stories called Damn it to Hell, also published in 2012, and 4) A Mystical Time, published in 2013.


Suzanne Tate is a communications and marketing specialist and a licensed English teacher in Norfolk, Va. A 1991 graduate of Virginia Tech, Suzanne spent eight years at the Coalfield Progress of Wise County, Va., as a reporter, community editor and then managing editor. She became education editor of the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk in 2005 and slid over to head up the Chesapeake city team a year later. She moved to the Bristol (Tenn.) Herald Courier in 2008 as opinion page editor. She left in 2010 to return to school at King College in Bristol, Tenn., where she earned an MBA. She earned a secondary school teaching certificate last year. She went to work for the Norfolk public school district last Fall. Find her cooking blog here, her food Twitter account here and her regular Twitter feed here. Suzanne turns 45 today.

Evan, Allisence, Mike, Deb and Suzanne share a birthday with actors Carrie-Anne Moss, Hayden Leslie Panettiere, Kim Victoria Cattrall, Melvin Van Peebles and Clarence Williams III; musicians William James “Count” Basie, Kenneth Donald “Kenny” Rogers, Jackie DeShannon and John Graham Mellor (better known as Joe Strummer of the Clash); director Peter Lindsay Weir; animator Isadore “Fritz” Freleng; TV host Sam Brody Jenner; sports greats Usain St. Leo Bolt (sprinter), Wilton Norman “Wilt” Chamberlin (basketball), James Robert “Jim” McMahon Jr., Archie Mason Griffin (both football), McLuin Emmanuel “B.J.” Upton (baseball) and Christopher Eugene “Chris” Schenkel and John Francis “Jack” Buck (both announcers); illustrator Aubrey Vincent Beardsley; England’s Princess Margaret, the Countess of Snowdon; Google co-founder Sergey Mikhaylovich Brin; AOL co-founder Stephen McConnell “Steve” Case and TV journalist Harry Smith.

In addition, today is Poets Day, Senior Citizens Day and National Spumoni Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, folks! Have a terrific birthday!

Deep in the Heart of Texsa…

Did you see the University of Texas’ 2014 football media guide?

Check out the school’s web address in the footer of this sample page.


Here’s a closer look:


And it was like that for all 99+ pages. Until the laughing began. Then, the folks at UT fixed their downloadable PDF files pretty quickly.

Matt Lombardi of College Spun writes:

A huge deal? Nope, but it sure is amusing.

But Brendan Maloy of Sports Illustrated summed it up even better:

This will likely prove to be fodder for thousands of internet memes, message board posts and, most importantly, clever “College Gameday” signs.

Thanks to Dyrinda Tyson of Oklahoma Today for the tip.

Well, now. That IS unique!

Yesterday, we took a quick glance at the transformation of the Anchorage Daily News into the Alaska Dispatch News.

Today, a tipster sends me a photo of a page-one sticker ad from that same paper last week, advancing the big changes.

The sticker promises something “unique” for readers. And, if you look closely, you’ll find something that’s quite unique indeed.


Thanks to my anonymous tipster.

The Apollo 11 anniversary proves why we all need copy editors

On this date 45 years ago, Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

A number of newspapers did stories over the past few days commemorating the event. Forty-five isn’t exactly a round number — not as sexy as, say, 40 or 50 or 75 — but, hey, it’ll do.

But commemorative packages are not as much fun when you screw something up.

For example: On Friday, Jim Romenesko pointed out this errant tweet by the Columbia Missourian:


Everyone laughed about the “Lance Armstrong” goof. But no one seemed to notice the other mistake: Neil and Buzz walked on the moon July 20, 1969 — 45 years ago Sunday, not Saturday.

Our second example was pointed out to me by Philip Maramba, managing editor of the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail who writes in his column today that he was so very proud of his paper’s page-one centerpiece on Friday.

Until it dawned on him: What’s a lunar rover doing in that picture?


Philip writes:

This was not an image from the historic 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing; this was James P. Irwin from the Apollo 15 mission in 1971.

Rovers, y’see, were only used on the later missions: Apollos 15, 16 and 17. They were not used on Apollos 11, 12 and 14.

Philip writes that he made two mistakes: He pulled together art from the Associated Press to consider for Friday’s front page. But somehow, that Apollo 15 shot got grouped in among the Apollo 11 pictures.

I’ve seen this sort of thing happen before. Once, I found the Associated Press moving a famous photo of a bootprint in the lunar soil. Several papers used it like this:


The caption said it was a footprint of an Apollo 11 astronaut, leading some papers to suggest it might be Neil’s first footprint on the moon. It’s not. That’s a print made by Aldrin’s boot, as part of a sequence he shot to measure how far into the soil his boots sank. Here’s the entire sequence of five photos:


As you can see, the AP also flopped the photo.

One solution for next time: Why use AP photos for space anniversary stories when it’s very easy to pull fresh scans of the original negatives from one of NASA’s online archives? My favorite one is here, and it’s extensively annotated.

Secondly, Philip writes, he thinks he should have caught the error:

I am now one of only a handful of people on staff old enough to remember the Apollo program. I knew the lunar rover did not go up on the first landing, but in my focus on the astronaut, the flag and the lunar module, I didn’t notice the second vehicle that shouldn’t have been there in ’69.

And now it’s part of the permanent record — with a correction forthcoming, of course.

I know the feeling. Because our third example of Apollo 11 flubs is my own.

I’ve written extensively here in the blog about Apollo 11 photography. The day Neil Armstrong died, I rushed out a blog post intended to help guide newspaper editors around the world in their choice of photos for the next day’s edition.

My Friday Focus page was one of the few times I’ve been able to take an old blog post, expand upon it and use it in the Orange County Register.


It’s a fun page, with a lot of “the story behind the picture” information and — I hope — written in a breezy, engaging way. I invite you to click on it and see for yourself.

There was just one little problem. That was the corrected version we posted online Friday. The version that ran in the OC Register, the LA Register and the Riverside Press-Enterprise had an error in the intro copy — as you can see here on the left:


That’s right. Despite all the work I put into that page, I got the damned year wrong. Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969, not 1974.

I, of course, know that. I’m not quite sure how I made this error. But man, does it sting. And it kept on stinging all day Friday. I received a good half-dozen phone calls and maybe a dozen-and-a-half emails about it. As I told one of my colleagues: It not the error that I regret. At this point, I regret ever being born.

My editor, the most gracious Rob Curley, just chuckled and told me Friday that my track record was still terrific. I appreciate that kind of support, but I’d prefer my track record to be flawless. Every time.

But flubs happen. As careful as we try to be, we’ll never eliminate mistakes entirely. The best we can do is to be as careful as we can, put as many safeguards into place as possible… and treat our copy desks really, really well. Because if reporters and editors and designers are high-wire artists, the copy desk is our safety net.

As Philip wrote today:

If we’re lucky, aside from the chiding of an eagle-eyed readership, that’s the worst fallout of our mistakes. (The worst usually involves lawyers.)  The only salve we can apply is that we get another chance to do a good paper with our next edition and that we will try harder to be more careful in the future.

Two spectacular typos prove we all need copy editors

We have no one to proofread the labels on our on-screen graphics!


So let the good times role!

That was from last night’s CBS Evening News.

Thanks to multimedia editor Jim Michalowski for the tip.

And then, this morning, the New York Times misspells a simple word in the deck of its lead story today on page one.

Here’s the page…


…and here’s a closer look at the deck.


The takeaway: We all need copy editors. Even the New York Times and CBS News.

That front page image is from the Newseum. Of course.

Clever headline alert

Check out this winner from Monday’s Roanoke Times:


The story: Sen. Mark Warner — who’s running for reelection — offered a meal with himself and his fellow Democrat Sen. Tim Kaine at a famous, 100-year-old hot dog stand in Roanoke as a prize in a contest. Tickets were $3 each.

A couple of days later, however, the Warner campaign backed off just a bit. The meal could be at the hot dog stand. But it might not be, too. The sponsor of the contest gets to pick.

According to the story:

“Having reread the email now, I understand where that confusion lies,” said Warner campaign spokesman David Turner.

…Turner said the implication wasn’t intentional.

“Particularly with contests, we want clarity,” he said. “I would’ve preferred it to be clearer in the email.”

Hence the brilliant headline. The reporter, Jordan Fifer, tells us:

Credit should go to the great Roanoke Times copy desk.

So noted.

Please, no booing from the press box

So, how do you celebrate the 100th anniversary of your baseball stadium?

If you cover the Cubs, there’s only one way to do it: With honesty. Brutal honesty.


Yep. That’ll do.

The Cubbies entered the ninth inning Wednesday with a three- run lead and were one out away from putting the game away, but then gave up five runs the Diamondbacks.

That’s the 6-18 Diamondbacks.

The page and that wonderful headline are both by Adam McHugh, manager for the GateHouse Desing House in Rockford, Ill., who tells us this was…

…some literary flavor to describe a century of Chicago Cubs frustration at Wrigley Field.

The paper was the Sentinel of Holland, Mich., average daily circulation 15,881.