wine by the color

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Thanks to the fine folks at Romenesko, I found the following web site this week. These wunderkinds, who will immediately be added to my list of Geniuses, track daily corrections from a bevy of newspapers.

This reminded me of my favorite-ever error in our local paper. I used to work there and have friends who still do. In 2001, when Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was executed, the paper had a huge, bold headline on the cover with an unbelievable error.

I did a little investigating and then sent the following e-mail to friends and former colleagues from the paper…

From the front page of today's Courier-News, in a screaming headline:

McVeigh showed no quilt

I took the time to look up the word "quilt" in the Webster's II New Riverside Dictionary, and there is but one meaning for the word: "a padded bed covering."

I was perplexed. Did Mr. McVeigh spend his last few months knitting? Did he have a very special quilt from his grandmother that he didn't want to show anyone?

So I thought I'd better call the
Courier News to investigate.

The conversation went as follows:

Her: "
Courier News, how may I direct your call?"
Me: "Yes, I'd like to speak to the department that puts together the front page of the paper." (Sidebar: me laughing inside, as I know damn well who's responsible.)
Her: "Oh, are you calling about the quilt?"
Me: "Why, yes I am. Have you had a lot of calls about that today?"
Her: "You can't imagine."
Me: "Well, I'm just curious, as I'm something of a grammar aficionado. Is there a new meaning for the word quilt, or..."
Her: "Oh no. That's just a typo. A really bad one."
Me: "Ah. So is it supposed to be 'quit'?"
Her: "Actually, they were going for 'guilt'."
Me: "Well, that's good to know. Have a good day."

So for anyone who wonders why I still purchase and read the
Courier News, now you know. The humor this has provided me is worth so much more than the mere 35 cents I slipped into the paper box this morning...

Shortly thereafter, I got my hands on a letter to the staff from the editor, which I won't run in its entirety but did include this:

Today we published an absurdly incorrect headline on the Page 1 lede story. Its existence, apparently uncaught for makeover, should underscore for all news staffers the importance of the basics - and of checking, double-checking, and triple-checking.

To my amazement, two paragraphs later, there was a noteworthy grammatical error. In the midst of a memo detailing the importance of attention to detail, there was a bad typo. Delicious.

6 Comments:

  • At 12/15/2005 10:38 AM, Blogger Megan said…

    The proofreader's hittin' the bottle again. Glug, glug.

     
  • At 12/15/2005 11:39 AM, Blogger SJPSandman said…

    Ah, sweet, sweet memories.

    Still, to me, the greatest headline in newspaper history wasn't an error at all.

    I believe it was around the same time, 2001-2002 somewhere in there when the Trentonian, a rag of epic proportion that rivals even the NY Post as the sleaziest of tabloids, based in Trenton, NJ, had its top story about a fire at a mental institution that killed several inmates.
    The headline: "ROASTED NUTS"

     
  • At 12/15/2005 1:54 PM, Blogger freakgirl said…

    I love the Trentonian. It's so awful, it's almost art.

     
  • At 12/15/2005 11:29 PM, Blogger todd a said…

    And who could forget the wrestling story in the Home News where the wrestler, Lenny Rothbard from ALJ applied a wrestling move that was illustrated with "sucking cock" instead of sucking wind.

     
  • At 12/16/2005 10:08 AM, Blogger jersey girl said…

    Todd, I actually have that paper somewhere. That's an absolute classic.

     
  • At 12/28/2005 3:41 PM, Blogger Joependleton said…

    TODD:
    Dude, get your facts straight. Mr. Rothbard was having his cocked sucked by Mr. Ferman Crisco of Perth Amboy, not the other way around.

    Sincerly, Brian Carroll

     

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