It’s still summer, if not for much longer, and a quick, not-too-serious post fits the mood. This is the type of light post I’d usually put on my Facebook page (yes, I have a Facebook page; if you’re interested in following that, you can ‘like’ it here). I post a bit more frequently there (every week or two, vs. monthly here) and keep things short. This one takes up more space, so the blog is better.
I’d mentioned some time back that it seemed like most of the copyeditors had taken the summer off because of the quantity of silly errors I was encountering. The two (or is it three?) below were part of this trend. These are available in PDF form at the source, but the resolution was low so I made my own digital images to better highlight the errors.
Anyway: I picked up the local “city paper” (I read it once or twice most weeks but the real reason I grab it is for the Sudoku) and noticed this ad on the front page:
I cringed but smiled. The error was amusing, if small, but I still had to shake my head: this was almost certainly a camera-ready ad that had been sent to the paper as-is, meaning that it wasn’t the paper’s responsibility (or fault) that this happened. The event promoter had botched it. Which is sad, but so it goes. The ad was fairly small — less than 1×2 inches — so the error probably went unnoticed by most readers.
Several pages later, however, I was confronted with a much larger version of the same ad, part of a full-page spread for eight events at the same venue. ‘No,’ I thought to myself, ‘don’t tell me they made this mistake in the large copy and then scaled it down for the front page plug.’ Sadly, they had:
We’re not through. Two weeks later in another issue of the same paper, I came across this:
Again, this probably wasn’t the paper’s fault. This looks like another client-supplied ad, which wasn’t properly reviewed at the source. The error could almost be lost (it’s a full page ad), but the photo, the type face, and the placement right above a list of awards, all draw the eye to it. This one might have been a little trickier for the staff to spot, because of that…”decorative”…type face. It still should have been corrected before submission.
What can I say? Only a variation on what I always say: it doesn’t matter how good you are with language, you always want someone else to check your work. Everyone makes mistakes. But you can minimize the ones that make you look unprofessional with a quick (and usually not very expensive) review by a good copyeditor.
Alright. All the kids are going back to school, but we’ve got one more big summer weekend left and probably another month of summery weather. Enjoy it! If you need a hand avoiding this kind of problem when you get back to the office, drop me a line. That’s what I’m here for.