Bleeding the Black Ink

When we get it wrong

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Most newspapers, including the Craig Daily Press, do their best to be as accurate as possible. This includes getting facts, the spellings of names, dates, and locations correct.

But sometimes we get it wrong and when we do we want to get a correction in our paper as soon as we possibly can.

A newspaper's lifeblood is its credibility. It's like hamburgers to a McDonald's. If we don't have credibility, there isn't much reason for us to be in business.

Mistakes can be made through faulty reporting, in the editing process or carelessness while under the gun of a deadline.

But no matter how the error is made, a publication is obligated to run a correction as soon as possible.

Sometimes there is a fine line between errors that deserve a correction and information that was reported correctly but a reader is not happy with the content.

For example, many people are not happy with the fact that we report the jail blotter, which is a matter of public record.

Because of the semi permanence of a newspaper, corrections are more important to publications than to broadcast media.

The Craig Daily Press runs corrections at the top of page 2 in a colored box that is easily noticed.

If, however, a significant mistake is made that greatly impacts how an issue reflects on our readership, we will and have run corrections on the front page.

The newspaper staff discovers most errors. Mistakes that were invisible as the paper was put together suddenly become 10 feet tall when reading over an edition after it is published.

As soon as the error is spotted, a correction is put together for the following edition. Often, the reporter will call a source related to the error and let them know that a mistake was made and a correction will be running.

People often call corrections in after spotting an error in the paper and those corrections are handled the same way.

We take corrections extremely seriously at the Craig Daily Press but if our staff doesn't know we have made an error and no one calls it in then the mistake may go by unnoticed.

This is why we encourage readers to call the newspaper when they spot mistakes.

Some of the more humorous mistakes occur in the choice of words, especially in headlines, and no newspaper is immune to them. These occur in such prestigious publications as the Washington Post and The New York Times.

What follows is a sampling of some of the funnier headlines retrieved off of the Internet that were actually published:

  • Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
  • Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
  • Safety Experts Say School Bus Passengers Should Be Belted
  • Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
  • British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands
  • Teacher Strikes Idle Kids
  • Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim
  • Enraged Cow Injures Farmer with Ax
  • Plane Too Close to Ground, Crash Probe Told
  • Miners Refuse to Work after Death
  • Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
  • Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
  • Old School Pillars are Replaced by Alumni

These grammatical snafus -- or simply poor choices of words -- can be funny. But making errors and running corrections should be taken seriously by any publication.

"Bleeding the Black Ink" is a weekly column that aims at getting readers better acquainted with the Craig Daily Press. Do you have a question or an issue for an upcoming column? Call Terrance Vestal at 824-7031 or email him at tvestal@craigdailypress.com.

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