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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Mistakes, and those who try to avoid them

Posted Tuesday, December 13, 2011, at 10:18 PM

Much has changed in newspaper production in the past 50 years, but one thing remains the same -- a good proofreader's worth his or her wait -- I mean, weight -- in gold.

Oh, the horrors that might have been published but for these unsung heroes of the world of print. How many times have proofreaders saved matrons and maids of honor from being listed as "fiend of the bride?" How many times would Methodists have been "Untied" rather than "United?" One letter, missing or out of order, makes such a difference!

Not to mention the time "Graduation" came out "Gradation." (Of course, we were making a point. Yeah. That's it. We were emphasizing how much the "U" in graduation matters. Yep. That's my story. Stickin' to it.

As hard as proofreaders try to catch everything, inevitably there area a few errors that make it onto the newsstands. The proofreaders wonder how they could have prevented such a gaff and hope they haven't earned a moment of fame on Jay Leno's "Headlines" feature.

For those of you who are wondering, as far as I know we've never enjoyed that particular claim to fame.

Proofreading's hard. That's one of the reasons a visitor who stopped by was more than welcome to join us for a while. Jean Applegate was a proofreader at the Nevada Daily Mail in 1969. We found out that although the method she used was different in some ways, we still had a lot in common. Newspapers were literally put together from strips then, and Jean's job was proofing the long columns and keeping them for future reference. Now we design the whole page on the computer, then print out a copy for proofreading.

A few of us in the newsroom talked of our common trade for a while, then Jean left us with some great advice -- keep laughing, and enjoy what you do.

Update: Giles Lambertson, who was a reporter at the Daily Mail during the Ben Weir era, stopped by the other day, too. It was good to see him and talk of shared interests.

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Lynn Wade
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