Thursday, January 8, 2009

Silver Bullet Writer Wanted?

The year has just begun and, already, the Proofreader's highlighter has seen heavy action. This time the careless copy occurs in a job posting seeking a writer on the Dow Jones & Company Web site, which led to the unearthing of the same mistake on several other news Web sites. And another posting seeking a writer on the jobs site is peppered with printed mistakes.

At a glance, the parent of the venerable Wall Street Journal appears as if it might be searching for a writer with a taste for Coors beer. Obviously, they're not really looking for a brew-swilling reporter, but the fact they repeated "US Coorespondent" three times in a single job posting, as you can see in the highlighted screen shot below, has to make you wonder whether this is a Silver Bullet drinker's dream job.

It isn't. Perhaps the apparent typo reflects the job posting writers' and editors' Freudian affection for Coors or just that they downed a few Silver Bullets before the work-day concluded, but they are looking for a sober reporter. In fact, if you read through the text of the posting, Dow Jones & Company is actually searching for candidates who can "demonstrate the ability to write quickly, accurately and with flair." Ironically, they're looking for a writer capable of competent work, unlike that which appears in the job posting.

Wait, does a mistake-ridden job posting imply the writing of the person who eventually gets this job will be held to the same low standards? And, of course, how does a mistake in a job posting, which is certainly reviewed by many before getting published, occur?

"We all make mistakes, even at Dow Jones where we are known for the quality of our products and even the quality of our editing," writes a Dow Jones & Company spokesperson in an e-mail message. Besides that, Dow Jones & Company has "nothing further to say" on the topic, so there's no clear answer.

The people at Dow Jones & Company aren't fretting too much, though, perhaps because they have company. This is a somewhat common mistake, as a Google search of the misspelled word reveals. It's been made by many, including several different news organizations on their Web sites, like this one on a New York Daily News blog, this one on, this one on the Web site of The Tampa Tribune and this one occurring, shockingly, on Newsweek's highfalutin online Media Kit, which is used to court advertisers. All four are depicted below, highlighted for your viewing convenience.

Strained from exposing the above blunders, the highlighter shed even more ink on the next screen shot, of a posting for a blogger job on, that's riddled with errors. Equally amusing as the ad's silly, third-grade mistakes is its clumsy explanation of the relationship between blogging and advertising. There are too many miscues to mention them all, so you can see them highlighted below. But does this example really meet the Proofreader's criteria?

It's a close call. Ordinarily, the Proofreader doesn't point out mistakes made on personal blogs, for instance, because the criteria calls for the mistakes to have been collaborated upon by media professionals--mistakes that shouldn't have been made. According to an e-mail message from a spokesperson at Kijiji, company policy prohibits Kijiji staff from editing user-posted content, so Kijiji had no real hand in the gaffes. Furthermore, the spokesperson advised Kijiji had no information on what company or individual posted the ad.

Judging by the copy in this job posting, is far from being a media professional and sorely in need of a writer. At least he or she is self-aware. The fact that the ad seeks a writer, waxes grandiose about "big business" and features an onslaught of mistakes over-rode the fact that, most likely, a non-professional made them.

We may never know whether a professional is behind these mistakes or not. The Proofreader contacted for comment and to find out which company, if any, is hiring, but, has yet to respond as of this posting. Also, Newsweek has been contacted for comment on its Media Kit mistake and the Proofreader will update you with any information that becomes available.


Lisa said...

Awww. That's nothing, today I had Come to the Job Fair, Febuary 4 (one measly "r" standing between a $30K credit and me!) and the very amusing "pply to" where the errant capital "A" must still be enjoying a New Year's party somewhere. My all time fave is still "We need a talented Assistant "Manger" who most "posses" -it's not a true good week until I've seen that one-two punch!


Thanks for linking to my blog on this site! I'm really glad I found your site--it's freakin' awesome. And now you're on my blogroll, too. :)

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