My first job in daily journalism was as a copy editor for the now-defunct St. Louis Globe-Democrat. I still read the daily newspaper with a copy editor’s eye, looking for typos, factual errors and awkward sentence construction.
I understand that time pressure makes it impossible to catch every mistake. Still, today’s Arizona Republic had enough errors, in the A section alone, to get under my skin. Here are three that jumped out at me:
- Kathy Knecht, a board member with the Peoria School District, discussed how the district will cope with budget shortfalls. She was quoted as saying the following, although I’m sure she didn’t say it: “There’s really no scared cows right now.” Let’s hope the board does nothing to frighten the bovine population in the future. (Yes, I know she should have said that there really are no sacred cows right now.)
- An editorial criticizing a gun bill under consideration in the Arizona Legislature made this point: “The law is a straightjacket that precludes voter-approved initiatives to change it, allowing the state a chance to opt out only once every five years.” The word should be “straitjacket.”
- In an op-ed piece, the writer talks about disappointment that additional revenue from the “Accountable Care Act (Obamacare)” did not materialize. The writer might have made this mistake, but the copy editor should have done him the courtesy of changing the phrase to the “Affordable Care Act.”
If you have any grammar or word usage mistakes that rankle you, let me know. I’m always interested.
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