In January, St. Augustine Record’s publisher recruited readers to help accomplish her 2014 goal of eliminating typos and grammar mistakes.
“It seems to take an army to help turn this tide,” wrote publisher Delinda Fogel.
Northeast Ohio Media Group content chief Chris Quinn is similarly frustrated by what he and readers see on Cleveland.com.
“We hear from people about typos every day,” Quinn writes in a staff memo. “It’s a genuine crisis, and it threatens our long-term success. So I’m taking the drastic action of instituting a zero-tolerance policy for typos.”
His advice to Cleveland.com journalists:
Ask a colleague to read your stuff before you post it. Or your spouse. Or your significant other. I can’t tell you how many times my wife has caught typos in my stuff. In a pinch on something really important, you might even send something to Andrea, who, it turns out, is the most eagle-eyed finder of typos I’ve ever met. She’s merciless. [He's referring to Andrea Hogben, president of Northeast Ohio Media Group.]
The key is that you or someone you trust has to actively read your copy to find the spelling mistakes.
I left a phone message and sent an email to Quinn to see how his anti-typos campaign is going. Any Cleveland journalists care to comment on this effort? Please email me.
There are many comments about Quinn’s memo on former Plain Dealer staffer Mary Anne Sharkey’s Facebook page.
Update: A Plain Dealer staffer sends this email:
We predicted this would happen when the company moved to this digital-first philosophy. Now, with no copy editors in the digital mix, far fewer of us on the print side and an entire layer of editors gone after layoffs, the company is reaping the consequences. It’s no one’s fault but Advance publications’. Typos are important mistakes, of course, but typos are only a symptom of the problem at the core of this backward system.
Update 2: Read comments from my Facebook friends and subscribers.