Tuesday, June 22, 2010

So Close, But Yet So Far

Sarah M. sent along this misspelled caption from her local newspaper, along with the hope that someone who graduated from journalism school would know how to spell.

A few things: Not everyone who works at a newspaper goes to journalism school. We never did (and instead, studied Classics and English literature, which probably explains a lot).

Photographers tend to write photo captions, or "cutlines," as they are often called in newsrooms. Although these should be proofed, we tend to give creative people a bit of slack when it comes to spelling. No doubt there are many photographers who spell well. We knew enough who didn't, though, to be sympathetic with our wincing.

There are a lot of expressions like "do to" — ones that are fouled by a homophone. "Half to," "could of," no doubt the members of SPOGG could generate a long list. The question we have, though, is what to do about it. For people who don't learn language through reading it and don't form mental pictures of words when they write it, it is very difficult to convince them that these are, in fact, errors. Trust us. We have a 9-year-old at home who repeatedly writes "half to."


Richard Cosgrove said...

What? Not even a small wince for "A tree fell ontop of this house…"?

Andygirl said...

Ah newspapers. My dad had me searching through the newspaper every Sunday looking for errors as soon as I could read. That may be why I'm so nuts now, but I'll always have a special place in my heart for newspapers and their lack of editing.

Martha Brockenbrough said...

OK, I will wince at ontop! While we're at it, power line should be two words (although the Internet and that mid-'90s trend of making everything oneword really messedmeup).