Two-Way Street

Gnashing Teeth at the Typo


It is the bane of every editor. The typo.

They are like cockroaches. You urge writers to prevent them. You tell editors to be alert and crush them. You spellcheck for them. You force people to read copy backwards in an effort to find the ones hidden in mental context.

And still they crawl out of the copy.

You tend to get a fair number in Internet news ... partly because of that time pressure thing to

get the story up and out as quickly as possible. When I was in newspapers we'd get typos too. But not as many. You had more time to write and re-read your story. And there was time for copy editors to go over it a few times. Still, the typos would appear. Nice thing about the Internet, you can correct them. On newsprint, it's there forever, baby.

Our readers let us know about them. Some do it nicely. Others not so nicely. For example, a remark from a reader this afternoon: Does anyone there edit what goes up on line? It's pathetic. — Chris

Sigh. No credit for all the stories we get up without typos. But I can understand the viewpoint. Typos are typically taken as a sign of sloppiness. If you mix up your "is" and your "if," how can you be trusted to get the yield curve right? A valid point. If it's any excuse, and it's not, writers typically typo because they are so preoccupied with the bigger picture they forget to do the little stuff right. Editors let typos get by for much the same reason. Plus all their multi-tasking demands.

Anyway, thanks to those of you who give us the heads up. Oh and ironically ... Chris? There was a typo in your missive ... no "s" was needed on "unprofessional."

Update: Yes, I have a typo up there. I wish I could say I did it for a double-dose of irony. Alas no ... it was there from the beginning. A news associate here pointed it out as soon as it was up. I corrected. And it came back because of the picture displacement and the fact that our CMS can't &^#*%$@ position things right. I'm leaving it there. As punishment. Thanks to those who wrote in.