Sun 14 Dec 2014
Those of us who have worked at newspapers know that sooner or later we’ll be responsible for glitches that will both embarrass us and make us chuckle. The bad part is that newspaper glitches are seen by thousands of people.
The funniest miscue I’ve recently seen was a Dec. 5 headline in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat’s online edition: “Highway 101 crash causes miles-long backup through Santa.” Thank goodness for St. Nick’s intestinal fortitude. Christmas is almost upon us.
Some miscues aren’t merely funny, and these often require a correction. However, the correction itself can be pretty amusing. Here’s a marathon correction from the Nov. 14 Napa Valley Register. It’s a good paper, which may explain the thoroughness of the correction:
“An article in the Holiday 2014 edition of Inside Napa Valley magazine, about St. Helena art gallery owner Christopher Hill, included in the Nov. 13 edition, contained a number of errors.
“Christopher Hill never lived in Germany. He was born in Berkeley and raised in Danville.
“Hill prefers the term ‘art gallery’ rather than ‘art studio.’
“Hill said his interest on St. Helena is community-wide, not just personal.
“His daughter is not an accomplished equestrian, rather she is an avid one. She is not currently working on a recycling program at school; and both Hill and her daughter speak in German to each other all the time, not just when they are at home. [“her”?]
“‘The Crushers’ is a St. Helena men’s softball team, which Hill sponsors and manages. ‘The Shockers’ is a Napa Junior Girls softball team, which he also sponsors.
“The Chamber of Commerce did not name Hill the Opinionator,’ and Hill never said, ‘I suppose I am.’
“Hill said, ‘There is no reason why we can’t keep our treasures,’ not ‘traditions.’
“Hill proposed a parcel tax to raise revenue, not a real estate transfer tax.
“Although he was once involved in a Yountville gallery, he does not maintain studio space in Yountville.
“It was ‘industry colleagues’ not his friends who ‘gave Hill ‘six months at best’ before his first art gallery would fail. He did not say, ‘And then they added that the tourists just won’t come to an upstairs location.’
“His mantra about surviving and expanding his business during the tough times related to 2002, not 2008.
“Hill began his art career in 1995 at age 24, not 27, in San Jose, not Graz, Austria.
“He never said, ‘We offer much more than vineyard scenes. And we’re very informal — no suits or ties.’
“Finally, The Christopher Hill Gallery features artists from North America, Spain, Austria, and Germany, not just California, Austria and Germany.”
I read this correction at the time the Napa Valley Register published, it and the Romenesko media blog has since reported that when Mr. Hill called the paper about the inaccurate information in the original article, he was told a freelancer had screwed up.
No discussion of newspaper miscues would be complete without acknowledging the important role played by typographical errors. I recall that when I was editor of The Point Reyes Light, one of the oddest corrections I ever wrote concerned a typo:
“Correction — Because of an extraordinarily involved typographical error, an account in last week’s paper of the ‘Miracle of the Virgin of Guadalupe’ became even more amazing. An English-language caption to a photo was supposed to have read: ‘According to legend, the Virgin Mary appeared outside Mexico City to an Indian named Juan Diego, leaving her image on his cloak.’ Instead the caption read: ‘leading her in on his clock.’ An accompanying Spanish-language version of the caption was correct.” — Dec. 27, 1985