Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A college newspaper's worst nightmare

The Daily Universe, the student newspaper of Brigham Young University, had to recall there entire press run and reprint today's paper because of a typo on the front page.

From the Salt Lake Tribune,
A caption on a photo from this weekend's LDS General Conference stated that "Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostates and other general authorities raise their hands in a sustaining vote Saturday morning. ..."
The group was actually called the "Quorum of Apostles". Ooops...

Quick vocab lesson
Apostle (n) 1. A person sent our on a special mission 2. any of the twelve disciples sent out by Christ to teach the Gospel...6. any of the twelve administrative officials of the Mormon church

Apostate (n) a person guilty of abandoning beliefs; renegade

While they are only separated by three words in Webster's New World Dictionary (apostatize, a posteriori, and apostil) they're obviously a world apart in meanings.

The paper's editors said mistake was not intentional, but rather due to a spell-checking error that got through at least three levels of editors.

For the non-newsroom savvy, that may seem like a lot, but coming from personal experience, spell check is the newsroom's worst enemy. It wasn't until this past year that TNH had a mandatory spell check on our InDesign documents, and even then, editors often forget take that last step. Or, like happened here, spell check is used but the editor just makes sure the words are words, not that they're the right words.

If this typo had happened in TNH, it's very unlikely would have pulled the run and reprinted it. Off the top of my head, I can't think of a situation where we would do that (at least when it comes to typos, if there was something libelous or defamatory we'd probably pull it). It would require a correction in the next issue of the paper.

Of course, this typo is a little more personal to BYU and the members of that community, but do you think it's bad enough to reprint the day's run? I'm not convinced.

Here's the Salt Lake Tribune story

The letter explaining the mistake from The Daily Universe

and their original article about the error

In that last link there is a student that says that he thought the paper was always sloppily edited, a criticism I'm sure every college newspapers (and most professional ones) hear. Newpapers aren't perfect, but that's why they made correction pages.

Here endeth the lesson,


1 comment:

  1. Definitely not worth a re-print, but as you said, it is understandable because of that fact that it happened at BYU...
    Thanks for the comment on my blog, it feels good to know that people are reading it. By the way, I clarified my statement about TNH in a newer post if you have not seen it yet.