Friday, August 05, 2005

Secrets of the newspaper business

A letter in the May 2005 issue of Publishers Auxiliary:

I'm collecting typographical errors that have appeared in newspapers and would appreciate receiving any and all kinds of them.

I'm more interested in the deliberate typo than in the accidental ones. Most typos, I believe, were not intentional. They were caused when a person simply hit a wrong key and the error was missed by a proofreader or editor.

It's the typo that was intentionally made that intrigues me: mistakes made deliberately in the letterpress days by an operator who wanted to have a little fun. Aware of this danger, experienced editors learned carefully to watch for certain words, such as public, which is easily converted to pubic ("local singer making her first pubic appearance"); the critical distinction between lie and lay; and the awful possibilities of dropping the "r" out of shirt, to name just a few.

Any contribution would be appreciated.

Robert M. Shaw
6216 Oriole Lane
Edina, MN 55436

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