When the staff at Brigham Young University's student paper, the Daily Universe, discovered their error, they pulled printed papers off of newstands and re-printed the edition. What was the big deal? A spelling error called the Latter Day Saints leaders "apostates" instead of "apostles." With Easter coming up, I'm reminded of the times I've seen "calvary" written as "cavalry." It's even hard to say those two words. When I was a little girl, I read Archie and Veronica comic books. Spelling mattered there, too. A love letter addressed to "Angle Face" instead of "Angel Face" caused offense. That letter "L" gets us into all kinds of troubel.
We know people read in various media. And we know journalists are in a bit of a panic about how to get paid to produce either short- or long-form pieces. New York Times Magazine editor Gerald Marzorati's recent speech focuses on that and even tells the cost to produce a New York Times Magazine cover story ($40,000 and up). I was intrigued by the glimpse at marketing the stories (early release to get the bloggers going in order to drive traffic to both the online and print versions). And while we hear so much emphasis on how online dissemination changes things, Marzorati describes also how the culture of news gathering has changed. Access to public figures is managed and tight. So writers now give us "ordinary people" stories, and stories of health and science. When we focus only on digital transmission, we forget that we operate in a culture that also helps form the news agenda. As editors, we must weigh our total environment. You'll find the entire speech worth reading. I did.
... and other tales of woe. After I told the editing class always to use the relative pronoun "who" for people, not "that" or "which," one student asked me about how to refer to dogs. Are dogs "who" or "that"?
I've been looking for an answer to that one. I'm going to save "who" for people and let the dog be the one "that" ... . Ardent pet lovers would disagree. Go ahead. Even some grammar experts do. For example, Big Dog's Grammar at http://aliscot.com/bigdog/pronouns.htm. You can't believe everything you read on the Internet.
The anti-plagiarism policy at Southern Illinois University may still be in draft mode, but the draft appears to borrow from policies at another institution, without attribution. Read all about it in USA Today.
Last night Larry King asked Gov. Rod Blagojevich over and over about the content of the tapes that were played by the federal prosecutor after the governor's arrest in December. The transcript is on Lynn Sweet's blog at the Sun-Times. After what the rest of us believe to be remarks made by the governor about the "golden" Senate seat, King asked the governor five different ways, in succession, if that is what he said. The governor evaded the question five different ways. Finally, King moved on. Even King can't get some people to talk.