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Explanation, not excuse

Original post made by Gina Channell-Allen on Aug 8, 2013

I had an email exchange with a reader that I thought I would share with you. The editorial staff and I appreciate feedback, positive or negative (particularly positive though), and the chance to respond.

Reader: Hi I read your PW.com on line paper every day. It's a quick read with good summary information. I am troubled (however) with the number of typos I find in your paper. Today, for example in your Grab Bag section the word "stole" should be stolen. Do you agree?

Me: Yes, I agree that there are more typos than I would like to see. One is too many for me! Unfortunately it's a result of what is happening in the industry as a whole. Ten years ago we had seven full-time editorial staffers doing two weekly newspapers (Pleasanton Weekly and Danville Weekly). Now we have three full-time and one part-time editorial staff members doing one weekly paper and four news websites that have to be updated 24/7, as well as the four daily Express emails.

This is not an excuse as much as an explanation. It grieves our hearts when we see mistakes; the four people on staff and their fearless former-journalist leader (me) are old-school journalists who remember the good old days when there were more reporters and editors than papers to produce and websites to update.

Thank you for reaching out, and keep reading please.

Reader: I suspected your explanation was the reason for the typos and I'm glad you don't consider it an excuse.

I thank you for your response.

Comments (1)

Posted by Apollo G. X. Apted, a resident of Alamo
on Aug 9, 2013 at 7:01 am

Couple ideas:

1 -- There are always some readers who will catch those omissions, typos and occasional grammatical disasters that spell-check allows to pass. And this publication has a regular readership, some of whom would like to help, I'd bet. Would a clickable "proofread hot-line" email link to the editor, prominently displayed, be acceptable to facilitate that assistance?

2 -- do they teach Journalism in the local schools, or at least good or creative writing? What about linking-up with a class that might have one student/week eagle-eyeing the DX as a part of his/her regular assignments? Some will be better at it than others, but anything may be better than nothing.

3 -- While we're on the subject of possible improvements, here on the Forum message board I never use the Main view, and have to click through it to get to the Message Board view to see what's generating new discussion. Would you consider making Message the default Forum screen? What does anyone else think?


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