Things like this happen when you let designers go

Salt Lake City Weekly was the first to write about the Deseret News’ hyphenated hed trailing off the page, which the alt-paper claims “points to an appalling inattention to detail.” How did it happen? Page design manager Heidi Perry returned my call over the weekend and left this voice-message:

You called to ask to me about the headline and how that happened. Quite sad. The person who did it felt horrible. They said “Prop 8” and they added a period at like 11 o’clock after Prop and it forced everything to the next line and they were on deadline and didn’t notice that it hyphenated everything, so then they lost the last word and it made the headline bigger. Usually when you add a period or something and you see that, you just make the headline smaller. He did it quickly on deadline …it happened late at night, [and they were] shorthanded.

I called Perry back and was told an overworked “duty editor” was responsible for the headline flub.

* Aug. 2010: A third of Deseret News staff expected to be let go
* Dec. 2010: Deseret News layoffs reportedly include all designers
(Thanks to Charles Apple for the image)



  1. “Things like this happen when you let designers go.”

    No. Things like this happen when you shift the focus away from editing and let editors go.

    Interesting how the rogue blog at ACES had someone blaming a “copy editor” for this. People need to get their titles and stories straight when they’re pointing fingers.

  2. BPoole said:

    Twenty years ago it would have been sad that this got through six sets of eyes. Now it’s said that one set of eyes reads headlines before publication.

  3. We just learned about this sort of thing in my college copy editing class. It is sad to actually see a published example, though. But mistakes happen; some are just more glaring than others.

  4. Eric Roy said:

    I’m just a radio guy, so take this with a grain of salt, but, couldn’t the Deseret News have simply substituted the word “backers” for the word “supporters” and avoided the whole mess?

  5. Anthony: Advance word of caution — today’s newspapers have a much different definition of “copy editing” than they did before. You might be a designer/”copy editor” if you write headlines off the first paragraph.

    Eric: Good idea. Too bad you weren’t there to suggest it!

    And I see from the poorly written Facebook comments the finger-pointing continues …