I can’t imagine how a newspaper, like this one in Britain yesterday, could manage to send this to press.
We’ve had our share of all kinds of gaffes and blunders. The “The” mysteriously fell off the nameplate of our Danbury paper, The News-Times, a few weeks ago. This kind of thing has happened to us in small type, but never in 72 points on Page 1.
Just this week, I was asked to change some dummy type, which is just a placeholder until an editor fills it in, from “bla bla bla” to “write hedline here tktk” … which would be a little less embarrassing if it made it to press. Placeholder text is deliberately set with lower-case nonsense words to stand out to the harried page editor. “tk tk” is standard editors’ code that indicates copy will be coming soon.
The most famously ill-conceived bit of placeholder was years ago in a newspaper far, far away. Someone wrote “not a damn thing inside” in the space where inside stories are promoted. This was before blogs and twitpics, but an industry trade journal included it in their feature “the lower case,” which was devoted to reprinting some laughable errors. This week’s blunder was circulated on one of the nation’s largest blogs, gawker, which suggested in its headline “British Newspaper Has Given Up on Writing Headlines Entirely.”
The easiest mistakes to miss are in the big type because they’re so obvious, you naturally overlook them when making sure the volume and issue number are right, or the comma isn’t misplaced in the fifth paragraph of the third column.
But this? Notice how the decenders, the bottom parts of the lower-case g’s, overlap the body type. I guess we’re lucky to have a press room that will actually stop the presses for such an obvious gaffe.
More than once I’ve had nightmares where a newspaper or magazine I produced was entirely in gibberish, all the pages bizarrely mangled and misprinted. Usually the press run is overnight, when I’m snugly in bed. Obviously, this situation works my nerves sometimes.
Of course, now that I’ve been critical, I’m sure we’re due for a whopper. And it will be all over the blogosphere.