[UPDATED] How the Cleveland Plain Dealer is fighting its war on typos

Plain Dealer ombudsman Ted Diadiun reports the Cleveland paper has been having more problems than typos recently. A March 30 top-of-page-one box teased a special 12-page Cleveland Museum of Art special section that readers couldn’t find in the paper.

Oops! Someone forgot to print it.

Oops! Someone forgot to print it.

“Somewhere between the news operation and the pressroom, a massive communication breakdown occurred, and the section was never printed,” writes Diadiun. “That’s about as embarrassing a mistake a newspaper can make.” (The section was stuffed into yesterday’s paper, I’m told.)

Cleveland.com chief content officer Chris Quinn
recently announced his zero-tolerance-for-typos campaign, but ombudsman Diadiun acknowledges that “typos have always been with us, and always will be.”

He continues: “Not too long ago, every story in the paper was customarily looked at by six different people. …But now, economic pressures have resulted in shrinking staffs. There just aren’t six people to read each story. Most times there are just two. And sometimes, there is only one.”

But, says, Diadiun, “there are a lot of good people working to fix the problem,” including managing editor Thom Fladung.

Fladung has been going over the daily papers the old-fashioned way, calling attention to every mistake he finds with a red magic marker. [Sports editor Daryl] Kannberg has been conferring with his editors, looking for ways to wring more time for the process so they can inject more care into the editing. …The bottom line is, readers have every right to be impatient with errors you find in the paper and online.

* Battle against errors intensifies at the Plain Dealer (cleveland.com)
* Earlier: Chief content officer implements a typos zero-tolerance policy (jimromenesko.com)

Update: John McIntyre says trying to solve the typos problem “requires something more thoughtful than ‘zero tolerance’ blather.”

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