The Value of Proofreading

I have noticed this more and more lately and it is quite disturbing. Usually, it is glaring errors in the article itself but now I’m seeing it in headlines. And not just headlines from small magazines and the like. This one is from CBS News.

A vane Osama bin Laden shown in new videos
CBS News – Bob Orr

(the sad source)

In case you missed it:

Noun
vane (plural vanes)
– (countable) A weather vane.
– Any of several usually relatively thin, rigid, flat, or sometimes curved surfaces radially mounted along an axis, as a blade in a turbine or a sail on a windmill, that is turned by or used to turn a fluid.
– (ornithology) The flattened, web-like part of a feather, consisting of a series of barbs on either side of the shaft.
– A sight on a sextant or compass.
– One of the metal guidance or stabilizing fins attached to the tail of a bomb or other missile.

and

Adjective
vain (comparative vainer or more vain, superlative vainest or most vain)
– overly proud of oneself, especially when concerning appearance
– having very little substance
– effecting no purpose; pointless, futile.

I’m betting my 11 yr old niece (who wants to grow up to be a writer) wouldn’t mix up the words. And I’m betting that if she did, she would see it on the first read through. Real journalists don’t make those kind of mistakes. Real news editors wouldn’t let it go past their desk. But I’m thinking that both species are endangered. Journalism just isn’t what it used to be.

I know it may seem trivial, but it’s not. This was a major news source (CBS News) and a big headline. I knew at a simple glance that it wasn’t right. Had it been Fox News, I would not have been surprised. But CBS? I expect more.

3 thoughts on “The Value of Proofreading

  1. I’m so old, I remember when newspapers had proofreaders who checked every edition of the paper.

  2. Ain’t that the truth? I’m seeing more and more errors. Sometimes it is typesetting (two words put together) but most often it is misspellings or the wrong word (like vane/vain). We are getting so addicted to the instant communication, that even just a few seconds of reading something first is just too long a time to waste. Journalism used to be present the facts. Now it is present the drama. Yes, “way back then” it was drama, too (what else would there be to write about?!) but it was facts first, drama second. The scoop was so much better when it was true (or true enough to risk).

  3. Just noticed they changed the headline. Same article, though. Should have gotten a screenshot, dangit.

    Edit to add:
    HA! They may have changed the title, but everyone who quoted it or, like me, demoted it, still use the old title. HA!
    (click to see larger version)


    error headline

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