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.


  • 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…

    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


Post a Comment

<< Home