Thursday, January 28, 2010

KOAM-TV Needs Refresher on Contraction and Possessive Forms of It

Holy fuck! Look at all the virtual ink the Proofreader had to waste on that screen shot below, found by Stan Kost on the Web site of a CBS affiliate serving the Pittsburg, Kansas/Joplin, Missouri markets. That baby's lit up like a Christmas tree. Perhaps--since this riveting story was published on December 7--its writers and editors had attended the T.V. station's Christmas party earlier that evening and staggered back to their desks fall-down drunk and desperate to write some news.

That's not the only explanation for this mess, but it might be the most logical one because this onslaught of blunders is literally as incomprehensible as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's movie career. Kost originally e-mailed the Proofreader to point out one of the five erroneous uses of the contraction "it's" and then e-mailed again saying:
I have also noticed in paragraphs two and three, the word "President" is capitalized. I'm not an owner of an A.P. Stylebook, but if it's the president of a company, shouldn't it be lowercase? In addition, the end of paragraph three has an unnecessary "the" in front of president.
Indeed it does. And, as has been noted here before, the Proofreader doesn't own an A.P. Stylebook, either. But he does own a New York Times style guide, page 270 of which confirms that when used to refer to the president of a company, the word president should be lowercase. 

The Proofreader thanks Stan Kost for submitting the mistakes.


sherri said...

Is Con-Way Truckload the new "smurf"? I doubt the company needed to be named four times in as many paragraphs.

I can understand why President would have been capitalized. I've known some people who are actually offended if you remove the capital on their title, as if you're somehow diminishing their role.

I also love that you started your article with a "Holy fuck!"

J. Alfred Proofreader said...


Pro writers and editors can't be responsible for the maintenance of company presidents' fragile egos. If they can't take that they're titles should be lowercase when preceding their names in print, well, then I' guess they'll have to find solace in their enormous salaries. Boo-hoo!

I, too, love that I started the post with "Holy fuck!" Thanks.

Hugh said...

It's very tricky to write this kind of blog, because your readers will spot your every error. Did you really write, "they're" when you meant "their"?
OTOH, I make mistakes also.
This kind of error almost always catches my eye, and I hate when it happens in the middle of a good read and interrupts the mood.

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