This morning, reporter Michele Young came into my office chuckling about how we narrowly escaped a tiny disaster in today’s edition.
She filed a story yesterday on a new surgical technique for kidney operations. In our quest to avoid headlines that might misrepresent the story, we ask reporters to put a “suggested headline” at the top of each story.
Michele’s suggested headline was “Scoping It Out.” When the page was put together, it read, “Scooping It Out.” While that headline might have been eye-catching, I’m pretty sure the surgeons at RIH don’t regard what they do as scooping out kidneys. Fortunately, eagle-eyed associate news editor Mark Rogers, who toils nightly on the late shift, spotted it and the correction was made.
One of my wishes for the new year is that we avoid embarrassing headline errors, or editing errors, for that matter. Like the one I made not too long ago on an important story about ranching and the environment. I hit the wrong key during the spellcheck, and the damned computer changed the name of one of the main players to “Darien Dimply.”
Throughout the story, the poor guy became Darien Dimply. It would be kind of funny except for the fact it was a pretty major announcement, which meant a lot to all concerned. We published a correction, as we always do, but he and his family now have a newspaper for their scrapbooks that identifies him as Darien Dimply. I’m not sure who felt worse, me or them.
So, right up there on my list of new year’s resolutions is to pay more attention to the “skip” and “replace” keys when I’m spellchecking stories.
Hve a hppy new yer.