Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Publisher's Nephew Has a Bad Day

A few weeks back, the Charlotte Sun's head headline writer spelled the Nutmeg State with three t's, tacking the superfluous one on the end: Connecticutt. Old Word Wolf turned the page without comment. It had been blog policy that typos wouldn't be a source of finger pointing. Since then, unfortunately, things have been going so very wrong in the spelling department that it would be a dereliction of duty to continue that policy.

In other copy desk news ...

The annoying lede -- "leaf-peeping" -- and the pronoun error in the fourth graf -- "it's" instead of "its" -- weren't enough to spike a lame fall foliage feature. Nooo. The Sun runs it twice. It was the top story in the Northern Report roundup yesterday. Today, it's all the news New Hampshire could produce. It's not even remotely possible that the local copy desk checked the math of a reporter who thought asking how many leaves fell in the Granite State constitutes journalism. Checking the math would require ... well, professionalism.

The AP reporter figures it this way: "The result: 1,400 pounds of leaves per acre ... times 2.5 million acres [equals] 1.9 million tons. At a tenth of an ounce per leaf, that's 609 billion leaves in New Hampshire."

Actually, it isn't. 1,400 pounds of leaves per acre multiplied by 2.5 million acres equals 3,650,000,000 pounds of leaves.
10 leaves per ounce amounts to 160 leaves per pound. (I'm skeptical of this figure, but we'll go with it for now.)
160 leaves per pound multiplied by 3,650,000,000 pounds equals 584,000,000,000 leaves.


  1. Another nephew, John Lawhorne, messed up two of his stories on the front page this morning: Santa Jerald will be heading for the Houston Galeria in Texas, and the ordinance is to specifies regulations ... Typos irritate me. If you are going to publish writing for a living, read it before you send it to me.

  2. Hey give these guys a break on the misspelling of Fort Dix as "Fort Diz." They don't use those letters way down at the end of the alphabet often.
    The w, z, y and z.
    Now I know my ABCs. So now can I be an editor please?

  3. Anita DictionaryThu Oct 23, 10:40:00 AM

    It is entirely possible that the writer never even heard of Fort Dix. This is the same company that prides itself on writers who don't know the difference between "Grease" and "Greece." Seriously.