Newsroom caller: It’s T-H-I-E-R, not T-H-E-I-R

A few months ago I posted Milwaukee journalist Mike Juley’s “Top 10 Tips to the Newsroom.” His #5 was: “Don’t be afraid to pick up a ringing phone. It’s good to find out what an actual reader thinks.”

This afternoon, Suffolk Times editor Michael White picked up his ringing phone and heard from an actual reader who thinks their is spelled thier. Here’s part of the call:

Caller: …it’s spelled incorrectly.

Editor Michael White: It’s a possessive — ‘Their place.’

Caller: How do you spell their?

White: T-H-E-I-R.

Caller: And do you think that’s the correct spelling of that word?

White: What *is* the correct spelling?

Caller: It’s I-E-R.

White: Ah, OK. I-E-R you’re saying?

Caller: Well, you tell me how you guys came up with it, because I can’t find it in any dictionary, and I went to college, and I was taught it was t-h-i-e-r. ….[Garbled] Google it and let me know. I can hold.

White: I have other stuff to do. You should Google it.

Caller: Wow, okay, well, I already know that I’m correct.

* Listen to the editor and reader debate T-H-E-I-R vs. T-H-I-E-R (
* Don’t be afraid to pick up a ringing phone and other tips (

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