Accidents WILL happen

Don't take that headline as me brushing off the seriousness of the problem. Just take it as an opportunity to quote Elvis Costello.

We'll have a correction on tomorrow's editorial page for the second day in a row. I can't remember the last time that happened.

When I first came to editorial in 1994, I thought it a bit much that ALL editors in the department read proofs every day. It didn't seem efficient. By the time I became editor in '97, I had come to value the process for two reasons: It kept everyone plugged in and gave them ownership of what was on the pages (the great danger in newspaper work, since so many things happen at once, is to be so caught up in what you're doing that you miss the overall picture). And it made the editorial pages the cleanest in the paper.

The value of it is underlined in circumstances such as this, when one person is both doing the initial pre-production edit of the copy, and is then the only one reading proofs. The error in Sunday's editorial (corrected on today's page) is sufficiently complicated and esoteric that I can't say I would have caught it myself even if fully staffed, although the initial writing error — the conflation of two projects in the town of Lexington; one public, the other private — is almost certainly the product of the writer working at quadruple pace to crank out editorials to leave behind.

But today's error simply would not have happened if — as was the case not too long ago — there were five senior editors reading proofs. Instead of just me, and I'm the same one who read it on the front end.

Yes, thank you — I know Harvey Peeler introduced the roll-call-voting proposal, not his brother Bob. I know Bob's not in the Senate. I know both guys, and know the difference between them. Got it. Nobody else needs to call to inform me. (Someone just came into my office to tell me while I was typing this.) Thanks. The correction will be in the paper tomorrow.

Now can I get back to doing my best to put out the rest of these pages without errors?

(And oh, yeah — I still feel like total crud, Ferris. I've got a call in to my doctor to see if he'll call in an antibiotic. My chest hurts from the congestion. Oh, didn't I mention that? Yeah, the stomach crud became respiratory crud over the weekend. Still running low fever each night, coughing all day. Taking all sorts of drugs for the symptoms — Oh, look, it's time to take them again — yippee!)

11 thoughts on “Accidents WILL happen

  1. Brad Warthen

    Just got this e-mail from Bob Peeler…

         Believe me, I know how it feels to “have my mouth
    made up, but my mind undone.”

         Merry Christmas!!

    … and it took me a moment to realize he was quoting Elvis to me. Which is pretty cool.

    Thanks, Bob. And sorry about that.

  2. Poor Wayfaring Stranger

    See if you find any errors in this:
    Isaiah 59 (New Living Translation)
    Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you,
    nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call….
    No one cares about being fair and honest.
    The people’s lawsuits are based on lies.
    They conceive evil deeds
    and then give birth to sin.
    They hatch deadly snakes
    and weave spiders’ webs.
    Whoever falls into their webs will die,
    and there’s danger even in getting near them.
    Their webs can’t be made into clothing,
    and nothing they do is productive.
    All their activity is filled with sin,
    and violence is their trademark.
    Their feet run to do evil,
    and they rush to commit murder.
    They think only about sinning.
    Misery and destruction always follow them.
    They don’t know where to find peace
    or what it means to be just and good.
    They have mapped out crooked roads,
    and no one who follows them knows a moment’s peace.
    So there is no justice among us,
    and we know nothing about right living.
    We look for light but find only darkness.
    We look for bright skies but walk in gloom.
    We grope like the blind along a wall,
    feeling our way like people without eyes.
    Even at brightest noontime,
    we stumble as though it were dark.
    Among the living,
    we are like the dead.
    We growl like hungry bears;
    we moan like mournful doves.
    We look for justice, but it never comes.
    We look for rescue, but it is far away from us.
    For our sins are piled up before God
    and testify against us.
    Yes, we know what sinners we are.
    We know we have rebelled and have denied the Lord.
    We have turned our backs on our God.
    We know how unfair and oppressive we have been,
    carefully planning our deceitful lies.
    Our courts oppose the righteous,
    and justice is nowhere to be found.
    Truth stumbles in the streets,
    and honesty has been outlawed.
    Yes, truth is gone,
    and anyone who renounces evil is attacked.
    The Lord looked and was displeased
    to find there was no justice.
    He was amazed to see that no one intervened
    to help the oppressed.
    So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm,
    and his justice sustained him.
    He put on righteousness as his body armor
    and placed the helmet of salvation on his head.
    He clothed himself with a robe of vengeance
    and wrapped himself in a cloak of divine passion.
    He will repay his enemies for their evil deeds.
    His fury will fall on his foes.
    He will pay them back even to the ends of the earth.
    In the west, people will respect the name of the Lord;
    in the east, they will glorify him.
    For he will come like a raging flood tide
    driven by the breath of the Lord.
    “The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem
    to buy back those in Israel
    who have turned from their sins,”
    says the Lord.
    “And this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the Lord, have spoken!

  3. MickJagger

    I was driving home early Sunday morning through Bakersfield
    Listening to gospel music on the colored radio station
    And the preacher said, “You know you always have the
    Lord by your side”
    And I was so pleased to be informed of this that I ran
    Twenty red lights in his honor
    Thank you Jesus, thank you lord!

  4. david

    I don’t think He was by your side Mick, I think He was by the side of all the innocent and sane people that you didn’t hit.
    Brad, I have blogged a lot here about how passé I think print journalism is. The cumbersome and inefficient nature of the editorial process you describe really sort of makes that case doesn’t it.
    You might argue that your process provides a “peer review” for what gets published in The State that Internet news sources don’t give the consumer of their material. Maybe, but I’m not really interested in a peer review if the “peers” are agendized and biased ideologues.
    Just sayin.

  5. david

    Right York. To a pseudo-sapient nimrod like you I suppose that anyone who disagrees with you does seem to be filled with hubris. Vitriol is the first refuge of the intellectually vacant.
    I never claimed that I wasn’t an ideologue. Nothing wrong with holding an ideology, unless one is an invertebrate moderate or PC liberal who holds his moistened finger up to test popular winds before taking any positions.
    In any case, there is a HUGE difference between me being an ideologue as a private citizen and the editors of The State newspaper using their powerful medium to propogate their ideological positions…which was essentially my original point.
    Not surprisingly, you weren’t quite sharp enough to get that.
    Merry Christmas Yorky old boy.

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