I love mistakes.
As an editor, it’s my job to find mistakes and fix them. When I’m checking copy and I nail a monster so awful that letting it out in public would embarrass my company, I feel that I’ve justified my salary. Plus, seeing someone’s juicy error gives me the pleasure of knowing that I’m not the only one who screws up from time to time.
In fact, just about everyone collapses on the job.
I hate to admit it, but my fellow editors make mistakes. Take this example from the New Orleans Times-Picayune shows. It starts sensibly, but then it goes off the rails.
Even when all words in a headline are correct, the meaning can get a little weird, as demonstrated by this headline from the Newark Star-Ledger.
Don’t cops have enough danger in their jobs without people paying for them to die? (The headline actually covers a program that offers money to anyone who turns in a cop shooter.)
Even the well-respected New York Times can screw up. Note the difference between the photo and the caption.
Who knew that Secretary of State Clinton was an angel?
Of course, that headline at least talks about its story’s content. This next one, though…
Now, here’s a double winner. The headline below should be trumpeting the presentation of a championship plaque. Instead:
Some papers can’t even get their own names right, like this one from Lebanon, New Hampshire:
But if you think newspapers are bad, wait until you see some mistakes in advertising — which part two of this series will reveal next.