“Witness the power of the missing comma!” Poynter contributor and former NPR ombudsman Lisa Shepard writes above the Tails magazine cover she posted on her Facebook wall.
More accurately: Witness the power of Photoshop and social media.
What Shepard and thousands of others have posted on Facebook and elsewhere is an altered Tails cover from October of 2010. (The commas were taken out of the subhed on the left cover; the real cover is on the right.)
“They should do their research,” Tails founder Janice Brown says of the journalists who are circulating the bogus cover and questioning her staff’s copy-editing abilities.
Brown says in a phone interview that the doctored cover first appeared on Funny or Die’s site nearly two years ago. “We let it go for a bit — it’s funny and all that — but when people started attacking our professionalism, saying we didn’t do copy editing and proofing, we set the record straight.”
Tails — a 150,000-circulation monthly that was founded in 2000 — has a half-dozen staffers, including a copy editor, says Brown.
Now that journalists have joined pranksters in posting the bogus cover, the Tails founder plans to give her “setting it straight” post from 2011 greater prominence on the magazine’s website.