Yes, even the best of us fumble.
The Baltimore Sun
On Monday, as I was working on the word of the week, coruscating, I was called away from the keyboard. Returning, having forgotten that I had not spell-checked the post, and pressed to move on to something else, I published it with two or three typographical errors intact.
A little later, I got a message from Chris Dinsmore, a colleague at The Sun, saying that he had noticed the errors and fixed them, bless his heart.I lead with this prosaic little episode not because it is in any way remarkable, but because it is entirely typical. This is the way we write now.When I sit at the news desk and look at the incoming copy, I see the misspellings, wrong words, and errors of fact in the online fields and realize with weary resignation that it is all already up on the website. In time, the corrections will take hold there, but the errors are already cached somewhere.This happens for two reasons. The first is our Web-first haste. Get it written. Get it posted. Were like AP, UPI, and Reuters battling to be first by seconds. Clean it up later. The second is the widespread determination to shortchange the editing. “Reduce the touches” i.e., slash the costs has been the cry of the sharp-pencil people throughout journalism and publishing for the past several years.So those of us who write are increasingly on our own, and those of us who are copy editors understand the Augustinian insight that we are all mortal and deeply inclined to error. “Writers are not the best proofreaders and copyeditors of their own work,” Carol Saller says. Even sweet old Homer nods, Horace advised us, and we aint Homer.