From the Publisher’s Desk: Antelope balls


By Bruce Schlabaugh

Being a publisher of a monthly newspaper is “risky business!”

Last month I made a statement about my great grandmother seeing the first man land on the moon in 1967. “I am sorry to burst your bubble…” started the email. I knew it wouldn’t be good. The sender noted that the first moon landing was in 1969.

“Oh well,” I replied, at least she saw a man orbit the earth. For all I know, she did see the moon walk, if she was up in heaven where she belongs. When you write things in a monthly, newspaper your mistakes stay there forever or at least until next month. Typos are a special kind of nightmare for news people. With daily newspapers or radio or TV the mistakes disappear quickly. Not so with our publication.

Years ago, a publisher friend of mine ran a fruit recipe on the food pages. It included honey dew and cantaloupe melon balls. Unfortunately, there were two letters omitted in cantaloupe balls. The word became antelope, and spell check didn’t have a problem with it. The typo went unnoticed until the recipe was run in the paper. The publisher got several indignant emails. “Where do you find them?”

“Aren’t they a little irritated when you sneak up behind them?” ‘How do you get them to stand still?”

The readers were merciless in his opinion. I saw it as good clean fun but he disagreed.
Several sports editors are known to be very careful with stories involving hockey pucks. I say this to illustrate the fact that spell check is not perfect. Errors can escape spell check and find their way into print.

There are countless days that I see typos on TV news feeds. Those crawls that run on the bottom of the screen are notorious spots for typos to rear their ugly heads. I think to myself, why aren’t they looking at the stuff they write? Then I remember, we have also had some beauties in our headlines also. Those are the worst for us.

They are large and when one is wrong, it really stands out. We do not tend to use spell check on headlines like we do the text of stories. The bad news is that my wife always catches the worst typos in print before I do. She makes me feel like an idiot for letting the error go unnoticed before we print. So now you know the perils of publishing a monthly news product.

I will try to be more careful in the future. By the way, I applied spell check to this particular piece of writing. There were errors all over the place.

Most embarrassing, I had typos in my story about typos. If you see one, ignore it please.

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