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.