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.

150401WednesdayAbcTypo

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.

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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

141007CapeArgueHeadline

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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

1308SuzanneTateMug

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.

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Here’s a closer look:

1407TexsaMediaGuide02

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.

1407AlaskaStickerAd

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:

140720ApolloTweet

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?

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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:

140720FootprintExcerpt

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:

1407208BuzzBootSequence

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.

Unnamed_CCI_EPS

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:

140720FocusApollo11Typo

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!

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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…

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

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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.

Fox News: At it again

No one can butcher a simple chart quite as well as Fox News. Especially when it shows data that Fox’s awfully slanted reporting might rather you not understand.

This latest example is a low, even for them. Check out the numbers on these two bars:

130331FoxNewsBarChart

So the goal the Affordable Care folks set for the end of March was just over 7 million enrollees. They managed only 6 million as of Thursday. That’s about 86 percent of their goal.

But Fox’s bar chart shows the actual number as just over a third of the goal. It looks like they fell way, way behind.

130331FoxNewsBarChart02

Here, for the record, is that same chart drawn accurately:

130331FoxNewsBarChart03

Quite a different story, isn’t it? The Obamacare folks didn’t reach their goal. But the situation wasn’t nearly as dire as Fox made it seem.

Thanks to Malcolm McDowell Woods of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for the tip.


UPDATE: Wednesday, April 2, 9 p.m. PDT

To give credit where credit is due, Tuesday, Fox News issued an apology and a corrected version of that chart:

140403FoxNewsCorrection

Much better.

Fox News has a long, long history of this sort of thing. In December 2011, Fox News manipulated this chart to make it look like the economic recovery had completely stagnated.

To give them credit, however, they included the actual numbers on the chart itself. You can see the numbers holding steady at 9.1 percent for three months in a row, then falling to 9.0 and then to 8.6. But notice how the fever graph itself doesn’t reflect the change between 9.0 and 8.6 percent.

I took a swing at replotting that same data, but accurately this time:

Hmm. Much different.

In February 2012, Fox News aired this chart showing the price of gas.

There are so many things wrong with that one that I barely knew where to start.

First, the horizontal axis is off. From left to right, we’re supposed to see a passage of time. But the distance between “last year,” “Last week” and “current” are all the same. In order to fix this, the “last week” data point would have to move to the right, just a few pixels to the left of the current figure. Leaving most of the chart an empty space between points 51 weeks apart.

Secondly, the average person will look at this chart and think gas prices have doubled in the past year. In fact, the bottom of this chart isn’t zero — it’s $2.90. You’re really only looking at the very top of what, in theory, would me a much taller chart.

There’s a reason a zero base line is important in the news business. Unless, of course, you’re more interested in misleading people than in informing them.

While they’re out shopping for a graphics editor, Fox might also want to hire a copy editor. There have been a string of laughable errors over the years. Like this one, for example:

Ron Paul surged into second place? With a higher total than any of the other candidates? Not likely. Most likely, someone typed the wrong number for him.

Just a few days before, Fox made another, even funnier, error in a version of that same chart.

Yeah. I don’t think that’s Mitt Romney. Looks like some guy from Kenya.

That very same week, Fox also labeled Utah as “Nevada”…

…and Vermont as “New Hampshire.”

These last few examples, you’ll note, are errors. But they don’t necessarily involve any of the typical Fox News axe-grinding suggested by the charts at the top of this post.

You really have to wonder about these guys.

Calling all Ohio State fans…

Take heart, Ohio State fans: Your team may have been eliminated in the opening round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, but you can still celebrate a great hoops season by buying one of these:

1303OhioStateJersey

Those were spotted for sale recently at a Footlocker in Columbus, Ohio. Thanks to Darren Rovell of ESPN for tweeting about this Monday.

Sports apparel errors pop up frequently in our collection of the kinds of embarrassing goofs a copy editor might have caught…

Last August, Nike sold $85 retro NFL sweatshirts featuring the Seattle Seahawks…

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…on which they misspelled “Seattle.”

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In January, the Florida State online team store proudly advertised t-shirts touting the Seminoles’ national football championship.

There was just one little problem: Check out the score.

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In fact, it was Florida State that won, 34-31.

Last July, Nike placed the Carolina Panthers — whose home is Charlotte, North Carolina — in South Carolina.

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In September, Walmart was spotted selling these Cincinnati Bengals flip-flops…

1309BengalsFlipFlops

…featuring the Cleveland Browns logo.

Also in September, the Detroit Free PressRobert Huschka bought this souvenir scarf after the big USA vs. Mexico soccer match in — where else? — Columbus, Ohio.

130911UsaMexicoColumbusScarf

In 2011, Old Navy left the punctuation off an entire line of college logo T-shirts.

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In September 2012, Old Navy made a line of throwback T-shirts but made five separate errors on this Houston shirt.

120905OldNavyError

  1. The shirt declares the Texans were “1961 AFC Champions.” The AFC didn’t exist in 1961. The American Football League — the AFL — started play in 1960 and then was converted into the American Football Conference in 1970, when it merged with the NFL.
  2. The Houston Texans did not win the 1961 AFL championship. The 1961 AFL champions were the Houston Oilers. You know them today as the Tennessee Titans.
  3. The Texans did indeed win the 1962 AFL championship. However, it was the Dallas Texans — not the Houston Texans — that won that title. You know the Dallas Texans today as the Kansas City Chiefs.
  4. The Houston Texans did not begin play until 2002.
  5. And they’ve never won an AFC championship.

Finally, the NCAA made similar errors in two consecutive years on T-shirts it sold at the College World Series…

In 2012, stadium vendors sold these cute little numbers:

Here’s a closer look at the design on the back. Note, in particular, the second bat from the bottom: “Kentucky State.”

That, in fact, should have said Kent State. The Golden Flashes are from Kent, Ohio, a few miles southeast of Cleveland. That’s nowhere near Kentucky.

The very next year, a stadium vendor was selling these Mississippi State T-shirts:

130616CwsTShirt

The art refers to the “Mississippi State Rebels.” However, Mississippi State is the Bulldogs.

Ole Miss is the Rebels.

Lots of us — especially myself — need a copy editor. Find more examples here.

A couple of Flight 370 mistakes to NOT make this week

Astronomers tell us that a star can get so large that it explodes.

The same thing is happening with TV coverage of that missing Boeing 777, Flight AH370. There’s some exploding — and imploding — going on.

First of all: Sorry, CNN. Kuala Lumpur is in Malaysia. Not Indonesia.

130320Flight370Cnn

That was from last night. Thanks to Niko Batallones in the Philippines for pointing it out to us.

Secondly, there’s this, from Omaha TV station KETV:

130320Flight370Art

That is artwork from the TV drama Lost, repurposed with a new headline. KETV was using this yesterday on Twitter to plug its coverage.

130320Flight370Ketv

Well, now. Isn’t that trite? The similarities between Lost  and Flight AH370 might be worth noting to the guy in the cubicle next to you. But it’s probably not something you’d want to broadcast or publish.

Thanks to Andy Neumann of Gannett’s Louisville Design Studio for the tip.

Oh, no you didn’t, Fox 35 WOFL in Orlando…

Oh, yes. I’m afraid you did.

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The word, of course, is secede.

I’ve posted so many examples of truly awful TV graphics errors over the years. For example, check out this one from last March by Fox News:

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Or this one from 2011 by Fox 14 News in Pittsburg, Kansas.

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Or this one, also from 2011, by Chicago’s WMAQ-TV, channel 5:

1103WmaqdError

The poor little polar bear’s name, of course, was Knut.

And then there was that time WDAY-TV 6 News in Fargo, N.D., misspelled the name of its weekend anchor.

120730NbcAffilliateNameError

Her name is Kelsey — not KesleyRoseth.

Local TV News divisions need a copy editors. An army of them, perhaps.

Thanks to my anonymous tipster for this weekend’s addition to my collection.

A couple of years ago, longtime television designer John Christopher Burns took the time to explain how these things happen and why they happen so frequently these days. Find that blog post here.

These people really, really need a copy editor

A quick roundup of reasons why we love our copy editors…


WE CAN’T SPELL IT, BUT WE WANT TO HIRE ONE

The bad news: Not only do these people think “copy editor” is a single word, they also can’t even spell copy editor.

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The good news: They need you. They need you really badly.

Thanks to J. Ford Huffman who found this Wednesday on Craigslist and stopped laughing long enough to share.


WHEN STATISTICS GO WILD

Oklahoma State ran all over Texas Tech last night in the opening round of the Big 12 men’s basketball tournament in Kansas City.

However, ESPN had a little trouble on its web site with the name of the winning school.

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Granted, State’s stats were probably impressive. But, still…

Thanks to Jim Glisson from my hometown in South Carolina for the tip.


LET’S JUST STOP COVERING SPELLING BEES

You probably saw this one earlier this week. It made the rounds in a big way.

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Fox News has a long history of mistakes, mispellings and other hilarious screwups in its onscreen graphics. I’ll spare you the list from my collection. So that goof didn’t surprise me a bit.

This one, however — from the previous week by the Detroit Newsdid surprise me, however.

1403DetroitNewsSpellingBee

As you can see from the story, the winning word was portentous. Not “portenous,” as it says in the headline.


WORLD’S WORST PIE CHART?

In a world where so few people know how to correctly use a chart, I hate to toss around a term like “world’s worst.”

But, y’know, I doubt anyone would argue with me on this one:

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Surely I don’t need to tell you: That should be a bar chart, not a pie chart. Someone also pointed out: The hyphen in the headline should not be there, either.

That was from last week’s Daily Athenaeum, the student paper at West Virginia University.

Memo to the staff: Hire Michigan State’s Karl Gude to give you a quick seminar in elementary charting.

What all the cool deputies are searching for this time of year…

It’s difficult for me to believe this wasn’t intentional.

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Especially when you get into the story and find out what the young woman is wanted for:

…she is wanted for felony charges of attempting to submit to carnal knowledge.

In other words: Prostitution.

But in fact, I scrolled through this tiny, elementary news site and I found no other examples of intentionally naughty headlines.

The tip for this one came from Bob Dillier, who tells us:

I plan to show this to my journalism students at the Defense Information
School.

Tazewell County is in the panhandle of Virginia.  I can’t seem to find circulation figures for the Tazewell Star. For all I know, it might be an online-only “hyperlocal” site. Find its Facebook page here.

Find the story itself here.

Doesn’t surprise me

I suspect the folks at Late Night with David Letterman made up this “fun fact” shown on last night’s broadcast.

1410221TvGraphicFunFact

But still: Hardly anything about TV graphics would surprise me any more. I’ve posted so many examples of TV graphic debacles that I’ve had to become more selective, or the blog would become overrun with them.

Several years ago, a TV graphics expert contacted me and volunteered an explanation for the explosion in errors over the past few years. Find that here.

Thanks to longtime photo editor and visual journalist Jim Michalowski for the picture.

Nope, not even close: Sports logo fail by MSNBC.

Oh, MSNBC. What could possibly be an excuse for this error?

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Thanks to the folks at the Bremner Editing Center at the University of Kansas for tweeting that photo this afternoon.

We’ve seen this sort of thing a lot — but mostly with sports logos and mostly on ESPN. Which, arguably uses more sports logos than most TV outlets. So, arguably, has more chances to screw up.

Which only means they should be more diligent.

Last fall, ESPN mistakenly matched a Wisconsin football helmet with Arizona. Unfortunately, Wisconsin was playing Arizona State.

130912EspnHelmets

Last spring, ESPN broadcast this logo debacle during its college baseball coverage.

130521EspnLogos

Four teams, four logos. Only one was correct.

In April 2012, WSVN — Channel 7 News in Miami — ran a story about the NHL playoffs involving the Florida Panthers. But instead of a Florida Panthers logo, it used the logo for Florida International University.

You’d have thought the big “FIU” might have been a clue.

A month later, the NBC affiliate in Los Angeles, KNBC, used a Sacramento Kings logo in place of a L.A. Kings logo in a story about NBA playoffs.

Back in 2011, ESPN’s web operation mistakenly used an Illinois logo in place of an Iowa logo…

…and an Illinois logo in place of Indiana. Both on the same day.

During the 2012 baseball playoffs, the Newark Star Ledger used a New York Rangers logo instead of a Texas Rangers logo in a preview story.

Probably the all-time worst logo screwup I’ve ever seen, however, wasn’t a sports logo and it wasn’t even American media: German news TV channel N24 was discussing the U.S. Navy’s Seal Team Six, so someone at N24 apparently ran a Google search to find the Seal Team Six patch logo.

The problem: Long before the bin Laden story happened, the name “Seals Team VI” was already in use by someone. Namely, Star Trek role-playing fans.

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Check out the Klingon skull at the bottom of the logo, surrounded by ceremonial Klingon bat’leth weapons. And the flying eagle up top carries a standard issue Starfleet phaser.

Today is a good day to die… of embarrassment.

The bottom line here: Use all the sports logos and helmets you like. But make sure your copy desk looks ’em over first.

Why scoreboard operators need copy editors

This is a picture of the Jersey Boys performing before the Rangers vs. Devils NHL Stadium Series game on Jan. 26.

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But here’s something interesting…

Evidently, the scoreboard operator at Yankee Stadium put up the lyrics to the songs so the crowd could sing along with the Jersey Boys.

Evidently, the scoreboard operator isn’t familiar with the lyrics to classic Four Seasons songs.

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The line, of course, is:

That’s just an alibi
Big girls don’t cry

Somebody could use a copy editor. Or perhaps a nice karaoke machine.

Thanks to Matt Underwood of the Gannett Design Studio in Asbury Park for slipping us that picture.

Believe it or not, I have a number of other scoreboard errors in my collection of “why they need a copy editor” samples.

In 2011, the Washington Nationals’ scoreboard operator misspelled the name of one of their own players: pitcher John Lannan.

During the 2012 NCAA basketball Final Four, the folks at the NCAA proved they couldn’t spell “Atlanta.”

During the 2012 American League Championship Series, the folks at Yankees Stadium misspelled the name of Tigers’ catcher Gerald Laird.

One of the worst I’ve ever seen, though, was this outfield banner at the 2012 Big 12 baseball championships in Oklahoma City.

Need a hint? Look closely at the word “baseballl.”

That awkward moment when you screw up your page-one headline

Here’s another error in display copy, above the fold on page one.

It’s not a misspelling, it’s a grammatical error. And the weekly Atlanta Voice made the error twice:

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And here’s the tweet the Voice broadcast this morning, apologizing for the errors.

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Thanks to Jim Romenesko for mentioning this one today.

Over the years, we’ve seen a number of errors on prominent page-one display copy. Too many to recap here, in fact. Here’s just a sampling…

In December 2011, the Lakeland, Fla., Ledger cited the wrong date for the “date which will live in infamy.”

Last spring, the Chicago Tribune misspelled “Wrigley” in a subhead at the top of page one.

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Also last spring, the Huntsville (Ala.) Times made four errors — three grammatical and one factual — in a single deck on page one. An excerpt from my blog post:

An anonymous reader from Alabama sends along a snapshot of the front of Wednesday’s Huntsville Times.

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She writes:

Thought you might be interested in the Times‘ most recent front page.

The centerpiece subhed is full of errors. I’m guessing it should be present tense, include a word like “members” somewhere and should say “to be destroyed.”

130315HuntsvilleAlaError02

Not to mention if you read the first few lines of the story, it says the group met Monday night, not Tuesday.

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And for a while after its big redesign, USA Today was doing a lot of this on page one.

They misspelled the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

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They misspelled “history”…

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…and they made Bill Parcells into a possessive noun with a misplaced apostrophe.

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Perhaps the physically largest display copy error I’ve ever seen was this one from the Chicago Sun-Times, misspelling “mortgage.”

But the most spectacular was probably this one from the Press-Gazette of Green Bay, Wis.

Do you see it? If not, look closer.

So on one hand, the Atlanta Voice might take comfort: Even much, much larger organizations have made errors just as bad — or worse — than the ones they made in this week’s edition.

On the other hand, mistakes of this type make us look awfully silly. Errors are going to happen. But a desk of top-notch copy editors can do a lot to keep you from losing your credibility and from going viral in the worst way.

A couple of years ago, Paul Nelson of the Virginian-Pilot shared a brief list of tips on how to keep from embarrassing yourself with display copy. Do yourself a favor and read it right now.

A most unappetizing typo

You’re going to have typos from time to time.

You’re especially going to have them on your social media account, where it’s not really practical to hire a copy editor to look over every tweet and every post you make.

But then sometimes, a certain typo might affect the business you do.

If you run a barbecue restaurant in East Texas, you probably don’t want to mention the word “bowel” in your Facebook ad. Even if it’s accidental.

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Ew.

Thanks to my old friend Kathryn Morton of the Central Penn Business Journal for the tip.

Not even close, BBC

It’s the Chinese Year of the Horse, BBC.

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The Beeb has had issues with close-captioning before. They once referred to the Archbishop of Canterbury as the “Arch bitch of Canterbury.” Sadly, I can’t seen to find a screen cap of that one.

Thanks to Tracie Barrett of the China Daily for the tip.