Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Siriusly Bad Spelling

Just because the Proofreader is behind the wheel of his car doing 85 m.p.h. on the highway doesn't mean he's not on the lookout for printed mistakes. Know that he risked life, limb and a traffic ticket to bring you this holiday-themed mistake.


It's a little blurry since the picture was taken with a cell phone held by one hand, but, as you can see highlighted above, it's a mistake made by Sirius XM Radio. Sirius XM likes to call regular radio "terrestrial," so, perhaps, this is an extra-terrestrial spelling blunder.

Notice that Christmas was erroneously spelled "Chirstmas" by the data entry guy at Sirius XM who enters song titles into its database. If Christmas was too long a word or presented too much of a potential for typos, maybe he should've gone with the famous and shorter Xmas variant.

The song playing was The Beach Boys' version of "I'll Be Home For Christmas" and please be assured that the arrangement of this Christmas classic was every bit as bad (if not worse) than you'd expect The Beach Boys to have made it. Not only was it a mistake to have typed the title the way it was typed, but it was a mistake for someone to have ever made a recording of The Beach Boys' version and another mistake for someone to have played it.

Earlier this year, Sirius XM was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, leaving the company, evidently, unable to afford competent proofreaders.

The Proofreader wishes everyone a Happy New Year! He'll see you in 2010 with more printed mistakes that never should've been made.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lots of Gibberish In Story About Fat-Drinking Commercial

Which is more disgusting: The newly-released commercial by the New York City Health Department, or the sloppy copy in a news story about the commercial? In the commercial, a man is shown guzzling a glass of what is supposed to be fat, the health department's not-so-subtle way of denouncing gluttonous soda drinking. In the article published on the Web site of WCBS local news in New York, there's an instance of what appears to be a typo that resulted in gibberish in the seventh graph and then, in the second-to-last graph, there's just plain gibberish.



As you can see highlighted in the screen shot above, WCBS combined the words "the" and "obesity" to create "thobesity." Sorry, WCBS. That's not a recognized portmanteau. Highlighted in the below screen shot, WCBS uses "widash" in the middle of a sentence. Wait, what? Having never seen widash used earnestly as a word before, the Proofreader looked it up and couldn't find an entry for it in several credible online dictionaries.

To make sure WCBS wasn't getting all highbrow in a story with a lowbrow hook, the Proofreader consulted Jesse Sheidlower, editor-at-large of the OED and author of The F-Word. If widash is some brand-new or über-obscure word, Sheidlower would know and he says it isn't. In an e-mail message, he writes that widash "seems pretty clearly to be a typo or some artifact of the publication process, rather than any new word or even a thinko of some kind."

As for which is more disgusting, perhaps it's a toss-up. Click here to see the commercial of the guy drinking a glass of fat.

The Proofreader thanks Jesse Sheidlower.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

More Typos In Coverage of Tiger Woods Scandal

The Proofreader is trying to keep up with the women in the Tiger Woods scandal, but simply cannot. At the latest count, twelve women have allegedly had affairs with the golfing great. That's three more women since the last post. To counter the additional three women, the Proofreader has only found two additional mistakes, and they're minor typos, to bring the total to five errors. It's turned into a runaway by Woods's women.


As you can see highlighted in the above screen shot from this tawdry CBS News blog, there is an erroneous pluralization of the word "email." The mistake could've been remedied in one of two ways: By removing the S to make "emails" singular; or by deleting addresses--but doing that would compromise some of the sentence's clarity.

And, highlighted in the below screen shot from The Baltimore Sun's Web site is the wrong form of the indefinite article "a"; it's written as "an" instead.



Find any other printed mistakes in the Tiger Woods coverage? E-mail the Proofreader.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A.P. Story Screws Up A.P. Style

Midwest correspondent Stan Kost e-mailed the Proofreader earlier this week inquiring about a usage of the abbreviation "vs." in an A.P. article he'd read on The New York Post's Web site. "In paragraph five, is it appropriate to abbreviate 'versus' when quoting someone?" asked Kost in the message. "It looked a bit awkward when I saw that," he added.




It looks awkward because abbreviating the word versus in the body of an article is a deviation from ordinary A.P. Style. For writing purposes, the Proofreader typically adheres to New York Times style and, therefore, doesn't own an A.P. Stylebook. So, the Proofreader consulted journalist Carly Baldwin, a writer for Metro New York newspaper, for enlightening on A.P. Style.

In an e-mail message, Baldwin wrote the Proofreader and noted what an odd favor he was asking of her. Then, she quoted the following directly from her 2003 A.P. Stylebook:
Versus should be spelled out in ordinary style and writing. "The proposal to revamp Medicare, versus cuts to Medicare ...."

In short expressions, however, vs. is permitted: "The issue of guns vs. butter has long been with us."

For court cases, use v. "Marbury v. Madison."
Given that the abbreviation appeared in a 29-word quote, it's probably safe to say that the word should've been spelled out, a minor mistake to be sure, but a mistake nonetheless.

The Proofreader thanks Stan Kost for submitting the mistake and Carly Baldwin.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Another Mistake In Coverage of Woods Drama

As the number of women claiming to have mounted Tiger Woods continues to, uh, mount, so does the number of mistakes made in the coverage of the scandal. So far, the official tallies: Nine mistresses linked to Woods; three mistakes in the frenzy of media coverage caught by the Proofreader.


As you can see above, this article from the ABC News Web site, about porn star Holly Sampson and pancake waitress Mindy Lawton being the eighth and ninth women to publicly join the Woods harem, is missing a word. While recounting the claims of an alleged Tiger Woods mistress, ABC News omitted the word "other." Rather than "...regularly saw each for sex," the phrase should read "...regularly saw each other for sex." Yeah, it's a stupid mistake, no doubt, which was probably made in the haste to stay out in front of this labyrinthine story, but it's a mistake nevertheless.

Folks, the Proofreader needs help in evening out the numbers here. As it stands now, there are many more alleged Woods mistresses than there are found mistakes in the coverage of the drama. If you notice any printed mistakes in the Woods drama coverage, please e-mail the Proofreader directly.

The good news is: The Proofreader is leading 3-2 in the less glorious mistakes-to-waitress ratio. Three mistakes (two in one article by Slate and the above mistake by ABC News) to one cocktail waitress and one pancake waitress. It's interesting how the media are classifying the waitresses in this soap opera with such exact specificity. Perhaps they know that still more waitresses (who serve specific things besides cocktails and pancakes) are waiting to divulge their affairs with Tiger Woods to them.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dubious Anniversary At Gray Lady and Sun-Times


Today is the 20th 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 HighBeam.com 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.

Raise a glass for a great printed mistake that should've never been made!

This post was originally published on December 4, 2008.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Minor Typos In Slate Article about Tiger Woods/Salahi Scandals

The Tiger Woods and Salahi Whitehouse party-crashing scandals are two stories that, like a certain credit card company slogan, defiantly refuse to go away. Thus, the more that's written about them, the greater the likelihood of a copy mistake. Behold two minor typos in a story on Slate (that married the two scandals in an effort to explain their persistence in the social consciousness) highlighted for your convenience in the screen shots below:


 In the second paragraph, the word "woman" should've been written in its plural form, "women." No doubt a small typo, but notable because Slate is typically the model of impeccable copy editing.

Further down, in the article's epilogue, there is a space missing in "one-thirdof." The space, obviously, should've been placed between third and of.


These can't have been the only printed mistakes that shouldn't have been made in the coverage of these two stories, but they are the only two the Proofreader has found. Notice one? E-mail a screen shot of it to the Proofreader.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Copy Foul In A.P. Coverage of Iverson Signing With 76ers Story

N.B.A. malcontent Allen Iverson is always a lightning rod for media attention. So, it's no surprise that after announcing his retirement last week, then abruptly coming out of retirement this week to sign with his original team, the media are scrambling the fighter jets to be the first to break the story. As is often the case, that careless haste leads to copy mistakes.


This time the venerable A.P. is at fault for a copy foul. As you can see highlighted in the screen shot above, the second to last paragraph of this A.P. story on ESPN.com asserts that Iverson has a career average of 27 points and 6.2 points. Well, which is it?

Iverson's career points-per-game average is 27.0. Over his career he's averaged 6.2 assists per game.

Evidently, mistakes in the Iverson saga are not merely limited to the Philadelphia 76ers, who have erred by signing the fallen star. Even media coverage of Iverson has been mistake-riddled. This guy just brings out the worst in everyone.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Newsday.com Bungles Headline With Unnecessary Apostrophe

Newsday.com has made mistakes in the past and is likely to make mistakes in the future, but the Proofreader will probably not know about these future mistakes. That is, unless sharp-eyed readers inform him of the blunders. Why? Newsday.com recently placed its content behind a pay wall and there's no way the Proofreader will be shelling out money to see repeated copy errors committed by professional editors.



So, how'd he get this one?

A careful reader sent it to the Proofreader, that's how. Also, it's from September 2nd, well before the pay wall was initiated. The reader, who asked to remain anonymous, wrote in an e-mail message, "Newsday.com made a nice apostrophe screw-up in an article about the Mets; I figured you'd enjoy it. They've since fixed the error, but not before I got a screen capture of it!  Enjoy."

Enjoy (mocking it) we shall, anonymous reader. Notice the unnecessary apostrophe highlighted in the screen shot above. We've seen this type of slipshod proofreading before from the editorial staff over at Newsday.com. The question is: Will we ever see it again?

Ever see copy mistakes that never should've been made? Take a screen shot and e-mail it to the Proofreader.

The Proofreader thanks the Anonymous Reader for submitting the mistake. 

Friday, November 27, 2009

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. 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.

This post was originally published on December 11, 2008.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Missing Spaces, Letters and Extraneous Letters; Small Mistakes

But they're mistakes, nevertheless. As the Proofreader continues cleaning off his desktop, he offers up a two-for-one Thanksgiving post. As you can see in the highlighted screen shot below, this August 18th story in The New York Times about Brett Favre, the N.F.L. quarterback notorious for his Hamlet-esque indecision about retirement, is missing two spaces in key spots and contains an extraneous N making the word "a" an inappropriate "an." This article has since been updated and the mistakes removed.


It's too bad the Times and Apple don't have some sort of extraneous letter-sharing agreement on the books, because within a few days of the above mistakes, on its Web site, Apple lacked an N where it needed one, as you can see in the highlighted screen shot below.

These are small, nit-picky mistakes, but most definitely mistakes that you wouldn't expect from these two industry leaders.

The Proofreader would like to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving, especially all of the professionals who continue making printed mistakes that shouldn't be made.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Record Low Temp Occured 16,000 Years Into the Future?

18,915? Huh? Settle down, now, Eyewitness News. Stop trying to play mind games. Everybody knows the record low of 55 degrees in New York City on August 18 couldn't possibly have happened some 16,000 years in the future. However, it is possible that proofreading will still be in vogue in 18,915. So look at the bright side: Everyone at WABC has over 16,000 years to master those all-important proofreading skills. Should be plenty of time to nail it down.

The Proofreader caught this one a few months ago--stay tuned for more mistakes that Proofreader has been too busy to post over the last few months as he cleans off his desktop.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sloppy Copy In Allen Iverson Coverage

Now that N.B.A. malcontent Allen Iverson has been released by the Memphis Grizzlies, rumors are swirling in the sports media about which team, if any, will take a chance on signing the aging guard to a contract. In its haste to enter the conversation about the possibility of the Knicks picking up Iverson, Yahoo! Sports has saddled its readers with some sloppy copy, likely the result of a proofreading fail.

As you can see highlighted in the screen shot above, the last line reads, "Isn't now the time to a few Greek teams to say they'd take Iverson in a heartbeat?"

There should be a "for" after "time" in that sentence rather than a "to," so that it reads: Isn't now the time for a few Greek teams to say they'd take Iverson in a heartbeat?

Also, the very sentence above it is borderline sloppy. It's definitely messy. But, it's not the type of ironclad sloppiness worthy of highlighter ink, like the last line is. Come on, Yahoo! Sports. Just because an N.B.A. team is about to make an epic mistake by signing Iverson doesn't mean you fine people need to make little blunders in your coverage of that mistake.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Proofreader Job Posting Sullied By Lack of Proofreading

This type of irony has been featured several times before here on the blog: A company looking for a proofreader fails to demonstrate competent proofreading ability in the very job posting seeking the proofreader.

Oh, the stupidity! Look at the mess highlighted below: Bilingual shouldn't be hyphenated; What the F is "Sapnish"?; and English and Spanish, two proud languages, are repeatedly demeaned by a lack of capitalization. This posting is patently disgraceful.


These types of job postings at once elucidate a company's immediate, glaring need and expose the surprising (yet amusing) ineptitude of those charged with satisfying that need. Today's example comes from a posting on Mediabistro.com made by the glorified temp agency Adecco Creative, a repeat offender. Evidently, the only thing creative about this temp agency is the myriad ways in which it mangles the English language in print.

Job applicants who see this posting must be unable to help wondering which "world renowned" publishing company would allow itself to be represented so unprofessionally by an outside agency. If any readers can share any info on which company is looking to fill this post, please contact the Proofreader. Adecco Creative never responded to e-mailed questions.

Also, the Proofreader would like to take this opportunity to remind proofreading-challenged companies, like Adecco Creative, that they can seek proofreading services from the good sponsors of this site--just scroll down and look below, in the right column. Click the various ads and see which company might best meet your proofreading and copy editing needs!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Woes Continue For Job Seekers, Job Posters

The unemployment has rate vaulted over ten percent in the U.S. Unemployment benefits continue getting extended by state governments and the federal government. As if that news isn't depressing enough, many employers, either frightened by the continuously growing mob of job seekers or defiantly mocking that mob, continue making silly, juvenile blunders in their online job postings.

Today's example of proofreading buffoonery comes to you courtesy of the H.R. people over at the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. As you can see highlighted in the above screen shot, according to a job posting strewn about the Internet, MetLife is looking to hire a Director of "Comminications."

No doubt--the "I" and "U" keys sit right next to each other on the QWERTY keyboard, making for an easy typo opportunity. But this typo could've been averted with careful proofreading. You'd think that, when hiring for a communications position, MetLife would want to communicate to applicants in a way that wouldn't distract/annoy/amuse/infuriate those applicants.

Presumably, careful proofreading and straightening out idiotic communications problems will fall under the purview of the lucky sap to land this gig.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How (NOT) To Proofread a Job Posting

In the same week that the unemployment rate marched past ten percent (for the first time since 1983), yet another employer looking to pluck one of the poor, out-of-work saps from the ever-expanding abyss of unemployment made a copy mistake in its online job posting. The company in question spelled its own name wrong. Dumbasses!

This time, as you can see highlighted in the above screen shot, the culprit is Howcast Media, Inc. Not Howcast "Meida," as the company might have you believe in its job posting on Mandy.com. Howcast is a relatively new Internet company that traffics in how-to videos.

Interestingly, Howcast has a section of its site dedicated to counseling people on how to accomplish various career-related activities. The eternally kind folks at Howcast even have a video that shows people (evidently new to the planet) how to write a résumé.

Behold step nine of Howcast's very own "How To Write a Résumé" video:

If that's a little small for you (click on the screen shot to enlarge), Howcast's advice is, "Spell-check your work." Oh, Howcast. If only you how-to clowns would practice what you preach.

Job-seekers, the Proofreader is going to do a little Howcast impression for a second here by telling you how to apply for this job, but without the nifty video (the Proofreader works on a bare bones budget, okay).

Follow Howcast's advice and not its example when applying for this job. That's right, please make sure your own name is spelled correctly on your résumé. You cannot afford to make silly blunders like this. Not in this job market, damnit! Thank you.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Orgy of Misspellings in Blockbuster Dan Brown Novel

Last week, The Lost Symbol, the latest novel from über popular author Dan Brown, hit the market. The occasion brought Brown's usual critics out in full force, on the Internet and in newspapers, for a round of the usual literary elitism. The scathing criticisms of Brown are, no doubt, many: plagiarism; factual inaccuracy; cliched writing. But, until now, the Proofreader has never had cause to deride Dan--The Da Vinci Code was awesome! Alas, the Proofreader now has no choice but to join the chorus of critics and lambaste the 2000 novel Angels & Demons for its repeated, defiant misspellings.

As always, the Proofreader never singles out the writer for these types of idiotic blunders because they are really the faults of the editors and proofreaders who get paid to catch them. And he doesn't intend to wantonly single out the writer in this instance (these mistakes really aren't his fault), but since Brown's name's on the novel and for SEO reasons, it's imperative to mention his name in the post. Plus, Brown has hundreds of millions of dollars, hundreds of millions more on their way into his bank account and he doesn't care if some silly proofreading blogger is mocking one of his books. Now, onto the mistakes, shall we?
As you can see highlighted in the above picture of page 269 of Angels & Demons, the name Alfa Romeo (a famous Italian car brand) is misspelled twice as "Alpha" Romeo. The first of the two names is actually an acronym for "Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili," an Italian phrase meaning "Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company." Instead, Brown used "alpha," most commonly known as the first letter of the Greek alphabet.

This is a colossal mistake. Do you know how many people read and re-read and proofread a book before it gets published? Or how many times it's read over and over? The Proofreader doesn't either, but he knows whatever the number is, it's a lot. And the above isn't one isolated example of a mistake. The same blunder happens over and over throughout the novel. See here for all of the examples the Google Books preview of Angels & Demons will allow you to see.

Here, have a look at page 174.
Notice that Brown, or a researcher/proofreader/copy editor at Pocket Books (a division of Simon & Schuster), went so far as to research a particular model of Alfa Romeo car--the 155 T-Spark--but didn't double check the spelling of the car's brand name.

Moreover, "T-Sparks" is erroneous. That's a reference to "Twin Spark," a type of engine made by Alfa Romeo that's standard in most of its cars. Making the term plural (T-Sparks) is a mistake.

For a commercially published novel, these mistakes are unbelievable. Evidently, the suits over at Pocket Books were appalled as well and, when the novel was reprinted in 2006, the Alfa misspellings were all corrected. But they still missed the "T-Sparks" mistake. Compare the below pics from the reprint with the above.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Errors Aplenty In Times Baseball Column

Summer. The weather heats up (or warms up, this year), the days are longer, the overall pace of life slows down a little and people take all kinds of measures to maximize their enjoyment of the season. Often, those measures involve a vacation of one type or another. For many, the vacations are all mental. Good, old-fashioned escapism. Perhaps this explains the recent lapses over at The New York Times, because it seems like whatever Times employees have been editing and proofreading the Op-Extra "Heading Home" column have been on a protracted mental vacation. Come on, Times H.R. department--give these people a real vacation so they can refresh, recharge and return to form! The mistakes lately have been silly and elementary.

The first one, an instance of bad HTML, happened in a column published nearly a month ago titled "Fehr's Game." Interestingly, this isn't the first time "Heading Home" has been plagued by bad HTML. As you can see above, in the second-to-last paragraph of the column's first page, the word "all" appeared printed with HTML tags intended to make the word appear italicized. This one was corrected rather quickly, but was unable to elude the Proofreader.


Next, as you can see above, yesterday's installment of the column contained a spelling error that was probably caused by a typo. The writer was looking for the word "choose," but ended up typing the past tense "chose," which turned out to also be the wrong tense.

These mistakes are a shame, because they mar what is an otherwise great column that gives readers a unique perspective of a real MLB player's view of baseball and the world. There's no excuse for these silly blunders that only distract from the fine content. Hopefully, a vacation is in order for the editors and proofreaders in question. Everyone needs vacations, even proofreaders. Check that. Especially proofreaders!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mistake In Madoff Coverage

No, the Proofreader is not dead. And no, pro journalists haven't stopped making printed mistakes that shouldn't have been made. The Proofreader was just too busy the last few weeks to provide adequate attention to the blog and to the mistakes that have been made. Be assured there are plenty of mistakes to be pointed out, some sent in by readers. Today the hobby resumes with a spelling error in an article on NBC's local New York site. The blunder happened a few weeks ago when Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison.

As you can see highlighted in the screen shot above, NBC Web editors let a misspelling of "shielded" slip by them. The article has since been revised and thus lacks the original error. While Madoff's sentence for fleecing multitudes of investors is 150 years in the big house, NBC Web editors get a much lighter sentence for their offense: Being immortalized on the Internet for infinity for all to chuckle at.

Check back later this week for more mistakes, some big, some small.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bad Spelling In TVNewser Headline

It's a rather boring blog that covers the rather boring topic of television news. But just because it's a blog and it's steeped in boredom doesn't mean TVNewser is exempt from employing adequate proofreading practices. Still, an apparent lapse in proofreading proficiency occured last Tuesday, as you can see in the highlighted screen shot below.

In the headline of this post, about families of soldiers who were upset that news of their loved ones' deaths was overshadowed by the tsunami of Michael Jackson death coverage in the media, TVNewser editors allowed soldiers to be misspelled "soliders." Headline blunders never cease to confound the Proofreader. The text is in big, bold letters. It's not that hard to give it a quick once-over before clicking the "Publish Post" button, now is it?

The error has since been corrected, but still...Soliders? C'mon, it's a headline. Proofread, damnit.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Copy Editors Distracted By Hot Bodies, Perhaps?

Right on the heels of Tuesday's post is another mistake you can file in your "copy editors distracted by accompanying photo" box, which you no doubt have. (Doesn't everybody?) Unfortunately, though, for the much-maligned Newsday Web editors, the Proofreader has learned his lesson about giving out Mulligans, so there won't be any more of that nonsense.

Lately, there's no shortage of nonsense from Newsday.com, although this mistake is almost excusable. Evidently, like what perhaps happened to the editors out in Portland, Newsday Web editors were so engrossed with the hot bodies in the picture above that they missed the spelling error in the first line of the deck. Hot bodies or not, these are pro journalists, so the mistake is officially inexcusable.

"Hubub" is close, but not right. They were looking for hubbub, two Bs, as everyone who's not busy checking out the bodies of Kara DioGuardi (who is that? Seriously. The Proofreader's not wasting time to Google her name) and Bikini Girl. However, it's possible that the editors there weren't distracted by the scantily clad bodies and, rather, just aren't that competent because they've been making a lot of mistakes lately.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cool Picture, Uncool Mistakes

A couple of weeks ago, a local news channel in Portland posted on its Web site this very interesting story about unusually low tides off the Oregon coast. Unfortunately, as Midwest correspondent Stan Kost noticed, the third line of the article, a collaborative effort by KGW.com and the A.P., lacked the preposition "of" where it should've been printed, between "remains" and "shipwrecks," as you can see in the highlighted screen shot below.

Now, it's very possible that the two editorial teams made this mistake because they were distracted by the coolness of the art accompanying the story. How often do you get to see real shipwrecks exposed by dramatically recessed tides?

The Proofreader doesn't typically like to give out Mulligans for this sort of thing. But, for the sake of argument, however unlikely it may be, say he gave these editors a mulligan because he liked the content so much. Well, then the Proofreader would expect that these two professional editorial teams would use that Mulligan wisely and get it right the second time around. Sounds fair, right?

Unfortunately, despite the generous Mulligan, they screwed up again. As you can see in the above screen shot, editors caught the original mistake and inserted an "of" where it was lacking. But then, inexplicably, they decided to rephrase the end of the sentence--and made another mistake!

D'oh!

This time they forgot to place a space between "to" and "see." Why they even tinkered with the copy any further is a mystery to the Proofreader. Aside from the missing "of," the copy was fine. Moral of the story: Leave well enough alone. Oh, and don't give out mulligans. Ever.

The Proofreader thanks Stan Kost for submitting the mistake.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Miscues In Philly

Lately the miscues in Philadelphia haven't been limited to those being made on the field by the team that plays its home games at Citizens Bank Park. No, they're happening in the media coverage of that team too. Behold the below screen shot taken from the Philly.com sports page on Monday, June 15th. On the left is the beautiful sight of Jimmy Rollins swatting a homer into the right field seats. On the right is a typo of first-grade ineptitude.


It's a tease for this article that appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News just after the Phillies salvaged the last of a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox by defeating the "Sawx" 11-6. As you can see highlighted above, there's an extraneous T in the word "the." The capital T belongs there, but the lower-case T immediately following it is clearly unnecessary and should've been caught by a proofreader before being published. Hopefully the Phillies and the Philly sports media can get things turned around--pronto!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Punctuation Problems At Post Continue

A couple of weeks ago the New York Post screwed up Yankees' pitcher A.J. Burnett's E.R.A. by placing a colon rather than a decimal point in the number. The other day the Post forgot to place an apostrophe in a contraction that appeared in a review of Conan O'Brien's first episode as host of NBC's Tonight show. The mistake was submitted by the Proofreader's good friend, and a very funny guy, Adam Wade.

The mistake appeared on page 34 of the June 2nd edition of the paper, in the third-to-last line of the article, as you can see highlighted in the picture above. In a review that critiqued Conan for being "unfunny," the Post, in a funny display of incompetence for a professional news publication, made a stupid error . The Post forgot to type an apostrophe in the contraction won't, which resulted in the word "wont."

This mistake was of the double-threat variety, as it appeared in the printed paper and, as of this post, still exists online as you can see here or in the below screen shot.

The Proofreader thanks Adam Wade for submitting the mistake.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Extraneous Word In Times Article About Leno

Well, Leno's officially gone from late night TV, but not to worry. The McDonald's of comedians will be back in a few months with a new, prime-time show. Yesterday, The New York Times ran an interesting story on its Web site analyzing what Leno's move to five-nights-a-week in prime-time might mean for the medium of television...besides more watered-down, hacky jokes and boring interviews. And, in the article, the Times left an extra word, perhaps from a previous draft, in a sentence.

The extra word occurs in the last line of the story's fifth paragraph, as you can see in the highlighted screen shot above. It seems like this sentence may have been re-worked during editing and a vestige of the old phrasing didn't get deleted. The sentence reads, "...then NBC will be left scrambling to find fill five prime-time hours a week." That "find" preceding "fill" doesn't make any sense.

Perhaps they should've simply omitted "find" or added an "er" to "fill" and followed it with the word "for," so the sentence would've read, "to find filler for five prime-time hours a week." That would've been less efficient, but at least it would have made sense.

As of now, this mistake has not been corrected on the Web site. Plus, this isn't the first time the Times has made an error in its Leno coverage. The Proofreader caught a factual inaccuracy in an article last December, which was distributed to many other news services.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Job Posting For Copy Editor Needed Copy Editing

Job postings for proofreaders or copy editors written with sloppy copy are some of the most amusing and, simultaneously, scary examples that get highlighted on the blog. What makes them so great is that these employers know they need help and, even when asking for it, can't manage to avoid letting third-grade mistakes get published online. It's the kind of unparalleled mix of self-awareness and incompetence that can only be displayed by Human Resources people, who typically can't read beyond a third-grade level.

The above screen shot, taken a couple of months ago and highlighted for your viewing convenience, contains three mistakes that never should've been made. "Editting," which reared its ugly head twice, should, as any elementary school student knows, be editing, with one T, not two. And name of the magazine is Woman's World, not "Women's World," as this posting would have you believe. It's not clear which employer sought this copy editor, but whichever publication was looking to hire outsourced the task to Adecco Creative, a glorified temp agency.

What's so scary about this is that the clowns responsible for this mess are the very people who advised the employer on which applicants are the strongest candidates for the position. The Proofreader's not sure how that's logically possible.

Wait a second. Aren't copy mistakes in job postings for proofreaders and copy editors a sly way for employers to weed out weak candidates? Only the applicants who mention the errors in their cover letter get contacted because it's assumed those that didn't mention the mistakes didn't notice them, right? Perhaps in some postings. That's an old trick, but not the case with this job posting. The Proofreader spoke to the headhunter at Adecco looking to fill this position and that individual said these mistakes were genuine and not intentional. Yep, funny and scary at the same time, especially in this economy. Best of luck to ya, job seekers!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Post Makes Error In Phils/Yanks Preview

Tonight an epic, three-game series opens at Yankee Stadium: The WFC Philadelphia Phillies are taking on the Bronx Bombers. There's much anticipation about the series and in today's edition of the New York Post, on page 93, exists a small error in the preview of the "weekend showdown," which highlights the pitching match-ups for the series.


As you can see highlighted in the above picture, Post editors screwed up A.J. Burnett's E.R.A. Instead of placing a decimal point between the five and the two, they put a colon, making it look like the time 5:02. No doubt, the E.R.A. is atrocious and not what the Yanks had in mind when they signed Burnett to a contract that pays him $16.5 this year, but that doesn't mean it should be misrepresented in the Post because of an avoidable typo. It should read 5.02.

Hopefully the error is an omen for New York's inferiority to Philadelphia on the baseball field--'cause New York is superior to Philly in almost every other way. This should be a great series and the Proofreader is looking for it to turn into a home run derby for the Phils and all of their power-hitting left-handed batters. Let's go Phils!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Online Mag Debuts With Common Misconception

Last week, Slate launched the online magazine Double X, a spinoff of its women-centric blog of the same name. Unfortunately, one of the earliest articles published on Double X featured a pretty egregious mistake. In an intriguing piece titled "Why I Give My Nine-Year-Old Pot," the last paragraph contains a factual inaccuracy pertaining to the Hippocratic Oath.

As you can see in the highlighted screen shot above, the article attributes the Latin phrase "primum, non nocere" and its English translation, "first, do no harm," to the Hippocratic Oath. However, if you read the text of the classical version and modern version of the oath, you'll notice neither of the above phrases exist in the oath. Thinking "first, do no harm" comes from the Hippocratic Oath is a common misconception, but one that shouldn't be made in print by a professional publication with proofreading, copy editing and research resources at its disposal.

Wait, how'd a Latin phrase get confused with an oath thought to be written by an ancient Greek physician considered to be the father of modern medicine? Because Epidemics, another famous medical text attributed to Hippocrates, contains the line "do no harm." Click here, scroll down to "Section II" and paragraph "5" and look for a passage that contains: "The physician must...have two special objects in view...to do good or to do no harm."

Around 150 or so years later, Galen, a prominent physician of Greek descent, paraphrased Hippocrates. He used Latin instead of Greek to paraphrase Hippocrates because he lived and worked most of his life in Rome and was even a doctor at a gladiator school. Over time Galen's paraphrasing has become popularly confused with the Hippocratic Oath.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Photo Credit In Hoboken Newspaper

The Proofreader recently contributed a photograph to Hoboken Progress, a weekly newspaper that covers "the mile square." As you can see below, the picture is of a pet waste sign posted in Hoboken that features sloppy copy and was the subject of the Proofreader's very first post on the blog. Notice the caption and photo credit printed beneath the picture.

The picture accompanies a story about a government official's Draconian proposals to punish residents who violate local pooper-scooper laws with a stiff fine ($2,000) and good ol' fashion public humiliation (the pooper scooper-offender's picture posted on a Web site, not unlike many municipalities do for sex offenders). The editor of Hoboken Progress contacted the Proofreader and asked for a clean copy of the picture, hence the mistakes aren't highlighted. To see the highlighted version, click here or here.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

One Headline, Two Mistakes on Newsday.com

If you're a regular reader of this blog you know that, lately, the editors at Newsday.com have really been lowering expectations for competent use of the language by professional journalists. Today's example is a new depth reached by Newsday Web editors on their seemingly inexorable plummet toward message board English--or total incompetent use of the language.

As you can see in the highlighted screen shot above, Newsday Web editors showed remarkable mistake-making efficiency. In a headline of less than six words, they managed to come up with two mistakes. Perhaps some perverse congratulations are in order. The glaring mistake, under the "More Movies" heading, is the misspelling "Stark Trek." No--it's Star Trek (sans the extraneous K), as everybody in the developed world knows, including them. Notice they got the movie title right just two headlines below that. Still, the flawed headline, which leads to an AP story, exists in other places on the Internet.

The second error is a little more subtle, but according to several online sources, is definitely a mistake. "Ship mates" should be all one word, like so: Shipmates, as all of these sources confirm. It's not a humiliating mistake like the other one, but it just demonstrates Newsday.com's continuing shoddy work. Hopefully, they'll get their shit together before the entire Web site is unreadable.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bad Copy In Facebook Ad

It's been noted here before: in this economy, companies that are hawking products, attempting to persuade consumers to part with their ever-disappearing dollars, have precious little room to falter in their promotional copy. It's just a fact of business life. Yet, mistakes invariably make it past copy editors and proofreaders. Below is a screen shot taken from an ad on Facebook. And, if you'll allow the Proofreader a moment to self-promote before continuing, you can now become a fan of the Proofreader on Facebook if you haven't already--which is probably true of you. Please become a fan and spread the word to your other Facebook friends. Now back to the mistake.
As you can see in the highlighted screen shot above, there are multiple mistakes, the most relevant to this blog being the misspelling "slliming" in the ad's third line. Evidently, advertisers of weight-loss products have problems with their proofreading, as this is not the first diet ad on the Web to have spelling issues. Turns out these advertisers slimmed down the word slimming by adding an extra L, which has a nice vertical shape, in place of an M, which is wide and fat. Perhaps the error was some kind of Freudian slip, but it should've been caught.

The other mistakes in this picture are the bodies. Those actually look like some cartoonishly large bodies to be depicted underneath the heading "How I Lost 55 Pounds." In fact, the guy on the right looks so cartoonish, that he is more likely the result of a Photoshop trick than steroids or whatever acai berry concoction this particular ad is promoting. The bodies are definitely funny-looking. The copy mistakes? They're never funny.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Kost Strikes Again

Whoa! The Proofreader's been on hiatus for a while--way too long--not due to any shortage of printed mistakes to point out; rather, a shortage of disposable time has plagued the Proofreader's ability to carry out his extra-curricular activities. Today's example was sent in by Midwest correspondent Stan Kost, who noticed an error in this article on the Web site of The Oregonian, published on April 19th.

As you can see in the highlighted screen shot above, the error occurred in the third line of the 37th paragraph. It's a letter jumble. "RKF" is supposed to read RFK (as in Robert. F. Kennedy), as it does in the preceding paragraph. The story is a sordid tale of deception, accusations and he-said, she-said surrounding a guy named Jeff Alan. The mistake is a minor one, but one that would've easily been averted with some competent proofreading, like that demonstrated by Mr. Kost. Stayed tuned for more mistakes reported by Midwest correspondent Stan Kost coming soon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Legalese Bungle...Made By Lawyers

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers," wrote Shakespeare in Henry VI. That quote has become famous due to a general social contempt toward lawyers, but, until now, the Proofreader has never had a reason to dislike attorneys. In fact, he even married one and today's mistake is submitted by the Mrs. Proofreader. So, to paraphrase the Bard, let's mock all the lawyers who wrote the sloppy legalese on the California Department of Insurance Web site. As you can see in the highlighted screen shot below, the attorneys who wrote this riveting broker fee regulations summary erred with their use of "therefor" in the last line of the second graph.

At a glance, it looks like these lawyers simply made a pedestrian typo, forgetting to type the "e" on the end of "therefore." And that may have been what happened, but..."Therefor," albeit seldom used, is a legitimate word, common legalese. The problem is that therefor and therefore have different meanings and these attorneys, who most definitely should be on high alert for a mistake like this, should've gone with the one with the e on the end that means “consequently, hence, for that reason.” Come on, they're lawyers.

Interestingly, this isn't the first time the Proofreader's had to break out the highlighter for this Web site. In his maiden post, the Proofreader pointed out an instance of the word "pursuant," also very common in lawyer parlance, misspelled. These lawyers have got to pull it together.

The Proofreader thanks Mrs. Proofreader for submitting the mistake.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Caption Of A Typo

WTF is going on over at Newsday.com? Lately, editors there have been screwing up headlines likes it's their job and now they let some sloppy copy get printed in a photo caption. As you can see highlighted in the screen shot to the left, the caption underneath the picture of the neatly-dressed music teacher claims that this fine, upstanding gentleman "could loss his job next year." Actually, he could lose his job next year and, if he does, that will then be considered a "loss." This article was published on the Newsday Web site on March 26th and, as of this posting, has still not been corrected.

If the Proofreader can opine for a moment here...the euphemistic language (loss, lost, losing, etc.) used in association with people getting fired from their jobs is driving the the Proofreader up a wall because it sounds like a total misnomer. It's not like people wake up bewildered one day and say, "Oh crap...where's my job? Anyone know where my office is? I forget where I work," like they're saying they can't remember where they parked their car. All these people got fired, or laid off through no immediate fault of their own. That means they had their jobs taken from them--they didn't lose them. This practice of sugarcoating is the equivalent of somebody who gets car-jacked casually noting, "Yeah, I lost my car today." Perhaps the spate of recent copy errors over at Newsday is a result of some proofreaders having had their jobs taken from them.

Friday, April 17, 2009

TV Guide and Mediacom Tag-Team Prison Break Mistake

Well, yet another copy mistake has been caught by the sharp-eyed Stan Kost, which has led the Proofreader to hiring him as the blog's Midwest correspondent. Welcome, Stan. In an e-mail, Stan wrote, "The Prison Break repeat episode which airs tonight is indeed titled 'The Sunshine State,' not 'The Sunshire State,' as either TV Guide or Mediacom has indicated." As you can see in the highlighted picture below, Stan noticed a typo in the episode's synopsis on his digital cable guide. So, who's to blame for this screw up?


Both Mediacom and TV Guide, although the mistake originated with TV Guide. According to a spokesperson at Mediacom, who seemed a tad too quick to blame TV Guide for the blunder, the digital cable provider purchases its digital cable guide content from TV Guide...but never proofreads that content before making it available to customers. Therefore, Mediacom, because of its utter and wanton laziness, gets to share some of the blame with poor TV Guide.

You have to feel a little bad for TV Guide. The Internet, TiVo and digital cable have all conspired to render our old favorite, "The Guide," virtually obsolete. Once upon a time, TV Guide was the venerated authority on T.V. listings, but had become so embarrassingly irrelevant in the T.V. listings business, that it was forced to change from a "digest" to a "glossy" format a few years back and now focuses more on gossipy, celeb news. Evidently, its attempt to maintain some of the T.V. listings market share in the digital era hasn't been all smooth sailing.

As you can see in the highlighted screen shot above, the blunder is not only limited to TV Guide-powered digital cable guides. It also exists on the TV Guide Web site, shamefully, just above a correct spelling of the word sunshine. It's a somewhat common mistake among bloggers and what not, but definitely shouldn't be made by pros. Thanks again, Stan, and welcome to the fold.