I was flagged down in the parking lot the other day by someone who asked if we were interested in hiring her as a proofreader, although she would be pretty expensive.
My immediate thought was, “Oh, Lord, now what.”
“What” was her pointing out a couple of errors in the Gazette.
In one case where it should have said “a.m.” it said “p.m.” In the other, a word was not only incorrectly spelled in a story but in a fairly sizable headline.
The first was a copy-and-paste error from a previous story and the lesson here is to not assume something is correct just because it has come out in print earlier.
The second was even more egregious (she didn’t say “egregious,” her tone was sufficient).
The word “boutique” was missing its first “u.”
I don’t know what my face looked like but she said, “Hey, don’t be mad at me.”
I wasn’t mad at her. I was mad at me.
And I would rather have her tell me than not say anything, however much it stings.
Social media may not have any standard for truth, accuracy or fairness, but we do. Words on social media may be ephemeral to a degree but words printed on paper don’t disappear and an error today will still be there to see probably even 100 years from now.
I remembered thinking the word looked funny when I saw it but apparently moved on to something else.
After talking with her I went back and looked again.
Not only did the word look funny but the spellchecker had flagged it and for some reason it still did not get corrected. I have no good answer for that.
The lesson is if you have a spellchecker, at least pay attention to it.
But some good came out of this egregious error: she said the reason she catches errors is because she reads every word in the Gazette.
I believe her.
And having even one person who reads every word is reason enough for us to do a better job and hope that if there is one such person there may be others.