Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Medley of Blagojevich Misspellings

Okay, it's not a word that ever popped up on the old Speak & Spell, so many of the common folk are having problems spelling it on blogs, message boards, news comments sections, etc. But, wait. Shouldn't professional journalists be able to spell the name of Illinois Governor Rod. R. Blagojevich correctly?

Yes, they should be able to, but frequently they don't, as you can see in the screen shot above of an article dated December 11, 2008 on, which features two misspellings of the name, highlighted for your viewing convenience.

Granted, his wasn't a household name till a few weeks ago, but the guy has been in the news--and even leading the news--every day since. Pro fact checkers, copy editors, proofreaders: let's get on-point and spell the guy's name correctly. Enough slacking off. In fact, most news organizations don't make the mistake, which is laudable. But too many do.

We've seen it before and now you can see some more, from big-name media companies to small-name. This post features a medley of articles that incorrectly spell the governor's surname "Blogojevich" in headlines, decks and the bodies of articles. And in almost all cases, the name is spelled correctly elsewhere in the article. Really? Yep, really.

Here's a mistake in the headline of an article dated December 30, 2008 from, which has since been corrected.

Next, we have a misspelling in a Web exclusive opinion article dated December 12, 2008 on

To keep things "fair and balanced," a mistake in the deck of an article dated December 15, 2008 on

A mistake in the headline of an article dated December 17, 2008 on the Web site of The San Francisco Chronicle.

Another headline mistake from an article dated December 11, 2008 on the Web site of The New York Observer.

After getting it once right in the piece, here's a misspelling in the second-to-last line of an article dated December 12, 2008 on Yahoo! News. (The pics below are sans a good portion of the article's body)

And, finally, a mistake in the body of an article dated December 16, 2008 on the Web site of The L.A. Daily News.

Several of these mistakes have lingered online for multiple weeks. That's ample time for them to have been noticed and corrected, but for some reason that hasn't happened in most cases.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Law of Averages "Times" Two

VOL. CLVIII..No. 54,538 (or the December 28, 2008 edition) of The New York Times contains at least two mistakes, both small typos, buried amongst its copious pages. One can be found in the Sunday Business section and another in the accompanying issue of The New York Times Magazine. As of this posting, both mistakes are available online and both were printed in the hard copies of the newspaper and magazine.

On page six of the Business section, in the continuation of a feature titled "Satellite Radio Still Reaches for the Payday," a typo exists in the 21st paragraph, first line, second word. On the Web site, you can find it on the story's second page, in the eleventh paragraph. It's highlighted in both the picture from the newspaper and the screen shot from the Web site below.

The copy reads, "So if would be unfair to compare us to a newspaper business..." Now, this is a tricky one because, at a glance, it seems obvious the text was meant to read, "So it would be unfair..."

rather than if.

But the apparent typo exists inside of quotation marks; the sentence was a quote attributed to Sirius Chief Executive Mel Karmazin. So, did Mr. Karmazin misspeak or did The Times misprint?

The Times misprinted. According to an e-mail message from a senior editor in The Times' Public Editor's office, "It was indeed a typo. The word should have been 'it.'" So, how'd the typo evade copy editors? The senior editor explains, "Given that we publish more than one million staff-written words a week, these typos are certain to get through." In other words, it's the law of averages.

The law of averages struck again on page 33 of "The Lives They Lived" issue of The Times Magazine. The article is a memorial for Tim Russert, the late moderator of Meet The Press. If you adjust your view to the third line of the first paragraph in the second column on page 33 and the third line of the eighth paragraph online, you'll notice the sentence lacks the preposition "of."

As you can see in the picture above and the screen shot below, the copy reads, "...admonition to hotel guests not to sleep on the side the bed where the telephone..." Clearly, the word "of" should have appeared between "side" and "the" in that sentence. Again, another small mistake, but a mistake nonetheless.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Oh My Governor!

In recent days, we've seen the spelling of the name "Blagojevich" butchered by several news organizations, some distinguished and some not so. Even more surprising, the correct spelling of the title of Blagojevich's office, "governor," has proven elusive for an abundance of writers and copy editors at a variety of news sources. This post features five more misspellings of "governor." Without further delay, the laundry list of highlighted screen shots along with links to the miscues follows.

The New York Daily News in a blog post dated December 17, 2008:

The Miami Herald in an article on its Web site dated November 12, 2008:

A double-bonus in The L.A. Daily News on its curiously-named political blog, "The Sausage Factory (is that supposed to be something like a sausage party?)." In the same line in which governor is misspelled, the name of L.A. is spelled "Los Angele" just six words later. WTF? Come on, writers and editors.

In the headline of an article on dated October 28, 2006:

And, finally, on the Web site of The Chicago Sun-Times in an article dated December 23, 2008:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Mistake Meltdown at Metro

Welcome back from the holidays. What does the Proofreader have as a gift for you (courtesy of a New York City newspaper)? One edition, three mistakes.

That's what Metro New York daily newspaper printed in its December 23, 2008 paper. At least that's what the Proofreader caught before nearly gouging his eyes out like Oedipus from having to read such excessively sloppy copy on three consecutive pages. There may have been more.

The first mistake, highlighted in the screen shot above, occurred in an opinion column titled "Obama's Cabinet Only Average," on page 17 of the New York edition. Actually, the whole column was something of a mistake as it's poorly written and boasts a depraved lack of inspiration. If you adjust your view to the last word in the sixth line of paragraph three, you will see "hawishness." Clearly, that was an attempt at "hawkishness." The error appeared in all three U.S. Metro editions: Boston, Philadelphia and New York and lives online at the "Metroblog: My View" page.

Another typo appears in the Sports section, on page 18, in an article titled "Welcome To Choke City." Scan down to the article's sixth paragraph which reads, "It's been more woeful that wacky."

Perhaps Metro writers and editors were attempting the word "than" between woeful and wacky. As usual, the mistake is highlighted in the screen shot below, which you can click on to view enlarged. Interestingly, while the mistake on page 17 has not been fixed online, this mistake has been corrected on the Metro Web site.

That brings us to the last, but certainly not the least of the Metro mistakes in the December 23, 2008 edition. On the very next page (18), perhaps the most amusing of the three blunders occurred in a column titled "Media Blitz." Don't bother reading, just skim down to the second section titled "Need to know more about." In the third line, the writer attempted to use the phrase "public relations," but forgot to type a key letter in the word "public." As a result, the phrase reads "pubic relations." Pubic relations! And, one more time: pubic relations. Which reminds the Proofreader, he has some "pubic relations" of his own he must attend to this holiday weekend.

Before he does, though, how'd these mistakes happen? Perhaps Metro copy editors were given an early holiday or maybe they completed their copy editing duties after having chugged spiked egg nog at the Metro holiday party and engaged in inappropriate "pubic relations" with co-workers. Classic typos and mistakes that shouldn't have been made and, while the holidays might be an excuse, they're definitely not a good one.

Monday, December 22, 2008

"Governor" Problem For Huffington, MSNBC and AOL

A few days ago, a local T.V. station in Chicago had a problem spelling the word "governor" on its Web site. Turns out, CBS2 didn't break any ground with the gaffe. The Huffington Post, MSNBC and AOL have all misspelled the word in the past.

In a blog post dated July 9, 2007, the word appeared spelled incorrectly on The Huffington Post, as you can see, highlighted in a screen shot of an excerpt below. In the second-to-last line of the article's eighth paragraph, sharp-eyed readers will note the word is spelled "Govenror," evidently a typo that eluded copy editors.

A couple months later, headline writers at had issues with the word, misspelling it in the deck of an A.P. article dated September 20, 2007. Just under the headline, highlighted in the screen shot below, the word is spelled "govenror." Below that, writers got the word right in a caption.

About eleven months after that, the same mistake was made in a news story on If you adjust your view to the last line of the fourth paragraph in the screen shot below, you should see the blunder staring you in the face, highlighted of course.

The news story is credited to Indo Asian News Services, a sort of A.P. of the Eastern world. While the wire service seems to write copy with a British affect, "Govenror" is still not an accepted spelling of the word. And, not only did the IANS copy editors miss the copy mistake, but so did the editors at AOL India. Most definitely mistakes that shouldn't have been made and still haven't been corrected, despite ample time to do so.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Four For One Sloppy Copy In Blagojevich Coverage

There's no question the surname of Illinois' governor is neither easy to pronounce nor easy to spell and The New York Times bungled the spelling today on its Web site, two days after The Connecticut Post made the same mistake and almost a week after The Los Angeles Times did. On the other hand, the title of his office, "governor," shouldn't present a pronunciation or spelling challenge to journalists. Yet it has, at a T.V. news station in Chicago.

On the Web site of CBS2 in Chicago, news writers managed to misspell "governor." In the second line of the article's first paragraph, just under a deck where it's spelled correctly, the word is spelled "govenror," as you can see in the screen shot below. The error appears to be a typo probably made by one of three individuals at CBS2 or someone at the Associated Press, all of whom are credited with contributing to the report. But CBS2 copy editors should've have caught the blunder.

Over at The Times, writers messed up the governor's funny-sounding last name, spelling it "Blogojevich" in the fourth line of this article's second paragraph, after having spelled it correctly twice, once in the headline and once in the opening line of the story and then many times afterward and in other articles. The mistake, also likely a typo, is highlighted in the screen shot below for your viewing convenience.

The Times isn't the only newspaper to misspell the beleaguered governor's name. Yep, the Connecticut Post also spelled it "Blogojevich" on its Web site in the headline of an article dated December 17, 2008 before spelling it correctly several times in the body of the article.

Haven't had your fill? On the west coast, The L.A. Times made the error in a December 13th article on its Web site. As you can see, in the highlighted screen shot below, The L.A. Times bungled the spelling once in the headline and twice in the deck, before getting it right several times in the body of the article.

How the hell do these mistakes happen? One reason is that, at The L.A. Times, copy editors (who are supposed to catch the mistakes, not make them) write the headlines, which accounts for the various spellings in the headline, deck and body. A similar process is probably employed at most newspapers and their Web sites. What's unexplainable and inexcusable is that the mistakes on the Connecticut Post and L.A. Times Web sites remain uncorrected days after publication.

For the other two blunders, the Internet is partly to blame, because news outlets are racing to beat each other in breaking news online. But basic proofreading shouldn't be compromised for breaking news. These are all mistakes that never should've happened.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Missing Preposition In Times Op-Ed

Amid coverage of the stunning corruption allegations against Illinois Governor and jackass Rod Blagojevich, The New York Times erred in a December 10th Op-Ed column titled "State of Shame." The column mainly details the onerous legal position U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was thrust into by Blagojevich's brazen greed. It's an insightful and enlightening piece.

Alas, the Proofreader regrets to report, the otherwise flawless column contains a copy mistake (probably a typo) in the last line of the fifth paragraph, highlighted - as usual - in the screen shot above. Kindly direct your attention to the phrase "Mr. Libby’s perjury and obstruction justice trial" in paragraph five's last line.

The phrase, which references I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's 2007 trial, appears to be missing the preposition "of." Yeah, it's only a two-letter word and it's not a typo Microsoft Word would catch and it doesn't undermine any facts or anything, but the preposition's absence muddles the phrase.

Since the column was written by an attorney, it's possible "obstruction justice trial" could be jargon or slang used by lawyers, but not likely. None of the lawyers the Proofreader has consulted have ever heard of such lingo. Also, in the interest of "readability," Times editors are usually adept at helping Op-Ed contributors avoid the use of gratuitous slang or jargon. Furthermore, a Google search of the phrase yields virtually no results (other than the column in question), meaning it's almost certainly an error. That it was missed by multiple professionals makes it a mistake that shouldn't have happened.

Worse still, the mistake made it into the printed edition of the December 10, 2008 New York Times newspaper. In case you didn't pick up a copy of the paper for yourself, a picture of the published mistake appears below in the second-to-last line of the fifth paragraph. You can click here or on the picture to view it enlarged and here to see it without highlighting.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Gothamist Fixes Mistake; Invoice In Mail

While some publications haven't responded at all (i.e., The Huffington Post, Chicago Sun-Times, etc.) to notification of their mistakes and some have been slow to respond (i.e., The New York Times), Gothamist editors were decidedly prompt in correcting their sloppy copy pointed out here yesterday. You'll notice in the screen shot (taken today) immediately below, and highlighted, that "nominated" has been added to the copy, confirming speculation made here yesterday. Compare it with the screen shot below, taken yesterday, in which the word is omitted from the text.

Curiously, despite the correction, there has been no public or private acknowledgement made to the Proofreader for alerting Gothamist editors to the slip-up. Nevertheless, an invoice for copy editing services will be in the mail to them shortly. Also interesting, according to an editor at Phillyist, Gothamist's sister Web site, the error was brought to Gothamist editors' attention quite some time ago, but was, for unknown reasons, never fixed. The Phillyist editor also advised that the "Proofreading Philly" column was launched in 2006.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Copy Mistake In Times Caucus Blog

Fully in accordance with the slogan here, "Pointing out all manner of printed mistakes that shouldn't have been made," this post brings a copy mistake on The New York Times "The Caucus" blog to your attention. The Proofreader is by no means picking on The Times. Honest.

The error, highlighted in the screen shot below for your convenience, occurs in a post dated December 12, 2008, titled "Sorry, We're Booked, White House Tells Obamas." Kindly scan down to the only line of the third paragraph. It reads, "It remained unclear who on Bushes guest list outranked the incoming President."

"Bushes," plural, should be "Bush's," singular possessive. Or, if "Bushes" is referring to the entire Bush family, then the article "the" should precede it and the proper, plural noun should be made possessive so it reads "Bushes'" or "Bushes's." Yeah, that surname is extremely annoying for writers.

In addition, the last word of the sentence, "President," should probably not be capitalized. According to The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage, "President-Elect" should be capitalized, as it is earlier in the blog entry. But "president" should only be capitalized if it's immediately followed by a name or "in a first reference to the president of the United States." This is a weird one, because President-elect Obama was referenced several times earlier in the article, but that instance is the first to reference him as "incoming President." It's something of a gray area which could've been avoided by simply referring to Mr. Obama as "the President-elect" rather than "incoming President" because, technically, he's not the president.

As you can see in the above screen shot, the post was made at 1:11 p.m. and then updated, but not corrected, at 3:12 p.m. As of this writing, the mistake still appears on "The Caucus" blog. However, a similar article appearing in The Times' December 13 edition and online is free of the errors.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Key Word Missing In Gothamist Sentence

Surprisingly, the New York City-centric Gothamist blog features a copy error on--of all places--its Media Kit page. In the very paragraph containing laudatory quotes from The New York Times and Forbes magazine, the editors appear to have forgotten a key word in a sentence noting the blog's nominations for Bloggie Awards. If you will adjust your view to the second-to-last line of the paragraph, highlighted for your convenience in the screen shots below, you should readily recognize the mistake.

The text reads, "Gothamist has been several times for the annual Bloggie Awards." Has been what? "Nominated" is probably the word Gothamist editors are looking for. Good news. It's available and eager to be used.

Interestingly, the editors at Phillyist, a sister blog of Gothamist, recently began a little proofreading enterprise of their own. Its latest post exposes a spelling error on the Metro Philadelphia Web site. The Proofreader wishes Phillyist editors the best of luck in their venture and offers this caveat: while Phillyist makes a salient point about Metro (and others), that point is undermined a little by their own family's sloppy copy.

Yearbook Spelling Mistake Oldie But Goodie


Yeah, it's twelve years old, but here's one for your "HTF did that happen?" file. The cover of La Salle University's 1996 yearbook features a misspelling of the school's name. Wait, what? Repeat: the name of the school is spelled wrong...on the cover of the yearbook.

Unbelievably, the school's name is spelled with one too many Ls: "La Sallle," triple L. There's no need to highlight this one. And that's La Salle University in Philadelphia, the accredited, legitimate and respected university; not this impostor in the Philippines and not "LaSalle University," the diploma mill that has been shut down and whose founder was indicted on many counts of fraud and sentenced to a prison term.

The error appears in several places throughout the yearbook, in addition to the cover, as you can see from another picture of the mistake below. This is one of the more bewildering (and funny) printed mistakes the Proofreader will probably ever encounter, a true team effort that resulted in a leviathan blunder. How many people looked at the copy and didn't notice the trifecta of Ls in the university's name to be printed on the book's cover? The yearbook staff, school administrators, the company that printed the yearbook, etc. all had a hand in the blunder.

The Proofreader is ceaselessly amazed at how mistakes like this and those on the signs in Hoboken are allowed to be printed on things that are created for the explicit purpose of being looked at repeatedly over a long period of time.

How does a keepsake that will presumably be gazed upon for a generation or two get tattooed with such an egregious miscue? The possibilities are endless and there's really no telling how this one happened. But one thing's for sure: this is a mistake that absolutely never should have been made.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Huffington, Times Tag-Team Mistake

2010 splits the defenders

News outlets love to break news so much that sometimes they bungle the story a little (and sometimes a lot). In the scramble to be the town crier on a big T.V. news story involving Jay Leno staying on at NBC in prime time after he leaves the Tonight show, at least two major news organizations made a small but critical mistake.

Shockingly, on its Web site, The New York Times printed a glaring (to sharp-eyed readers) error in its coverage of the Leno story. As you can see in the screen shot highlighted above, The Times’ article states, “Five years ago NBC announced that it would give the job of host of that franchise late-night show to Conan O'Brien in May 2010.”

Any follower of this story knows that Mr. O’Brien is taking over the Tonight show from the large-jawed host in May 2009 (not 2010) and so does The Times, because the paper has been closely following the story for around five years and the article’s writer basically wrote the book on late night television (a truly amazing story and good read). Therefore, it’s no surprise The Times quickly recognized and corrected the error, albeit without admitting to the gaffe.

But, lesser news organizations, most notably The Huffington Post, have made the mistake and, as of this writing, have yet to make the correction. It’s one thing for The Times to publish a typo or briefly get the years in question mixed up while breaking the story, but it’s quite another blunder for Huffington Post editors to reprint the story and not catch the error. And, The Huffington Post didn’t clearly credit the story to The Times. Huh, really?

Yep, look closely at the above screen shot. Huffington Post editors gave their own writer credit for the story and the mistake while vaguely noting that The Times "also reports the move," even though the majority of the text is copied verbatim from The Times. The Proofreader can’t help but wonder if Huffington Post editors read the story or just performed some slapdash copying and pasting to get the story online as quickly as possible. As is often the case, other media outlets have repeated the mistake, but many, if not most, have not. Hopefully, those that did will correct the mistake and notify readers of the original error.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dubious Anniversary At Gray Lady and Sun-Times

Mistake that's old enough to vote

Today is the 19th anniversary of a copy mistake made in the Sports section of The New York Times, which has gone undetected by Times' editors and staff these many years. In an article dated December 4, 1989 and titled "SPORTS OF THE TIMES; Aggravating Is Kind Word," there exists a small, but somewhat significant error.

The mistake appears in the first line of the article's fourth paragraph of the online version; it was probably the third paragraph in the paper back in 1989, but the Proofreader has, as of yet, been unable to obtain a hard copy of that. Ironically, the mistake occurs one line after the New York Football Giants' quarterback Phil Simms is quoted as having asked reporters, "On the mess ups? Is that what you want?"

Regardless of what whomever wanted, a mess-up is what was printed next and it is highlighted for you in the screen shots above. Notice the phrase "after Bob Golic's sack" in line one of paragraph four. Readers with proficient attention to detail skills will recognize the error. While Bob Golic has appeared in many different things, most amusing among them Saved By The Bell: The College Years, he never appeared in the N.F.L. game played at the Meadowlands between the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants on December 3, 1989. Several credible Internet sources confirm that at no time during his professional football career did Bob Golic occupy a roster spot on the Philadelphia Eagles. Furthermore, several sources listing the Eagles' 1989 roster also confirm that Bob Golic never played in an N.F.L. game for the Eagles that year.

So, how'd the mistake happen if Bob Golic never played for the Eagles? Most likely, it was a mix-up with his younger brother Mike Golic, who you will notice was on the Eagles' roster in 1989. Mike Golic is now an ESPN radio and T.V. personality. Interesting how professional sportswriters and editors are able to make a mistake like this, which kind of undermines the integrity of the story. Bob Golic played for the Los Angeles Raiders in 1989 and played in this game on December 3rd of that year.

The Gray Lady isn't the only newspaper celebrating the dubious anniversary today. The Times' Windy City colleagues at The Chicago Sun-Times should also be popping a little bubbly today because they made the mistake too, unearthed via and highlighted below. Wait, the same obscure mistake on the same day? How'd that happen?

It's difficult to speculate so long after the fact, but one guess is, given the news cycle in those days, a writer at the Sun-Times read the story in The New York Times and then spit out a reconstituted version of events which included the error. If that is the genesis of the second mistake, it's too bad the writer didn't read another story in The Times that day, which correctly accounted for Mike Golic's play in the game.

Stay tuned. The Proofreader is going to investigate the matter further and also will petition the two publications to correct the mistakes after all these years. Should be interesting to see how they respond. Till then, raise a glass for a great printed mistake that should've never been made! Below is another screenshot of the page as it appears as of today, it's anniversary.

How does Tenafly, New Jersey figure in to the whole thing? Wait for it...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Another Day of Burress Coverage, Another Mistake

This time it's the running back

Yesterday Metro New York had problems spelling the name of Giants' wide receiver Plaxico Burress. Today the newspaper got Burress's name right every time (congratulations!), but misspelled Giants' running back Ahmad Bradshaw's first name.

Kindly turn to page four of yuur December 3, 2008 edition of Metro New York (or click on the pic above) and direct your attention to the top story, last line of the second column. Sharp-eyed readers will notice the Giants' running back's first name is spelled "Ahmed." Numerous credible Internet sources confirm the correct spelling of Bradshaw's first name as "Ahmad." The article in which the error occurs is actually an Associated Press story, so two teams of professional editors are responsible for the mistake: those at the A.P. and those at Metro, clearly making this a mistake that shouldn't have happened.

The Proofreader has said it before and will probably say it again a thousand times: it's a small mistake, but a mistake nonetheless.