I can’t take it any more. The Wall Street Journal, a most highly respected publication offline and on. The homepage. The top of the homepage. The line – “The Illinois House voted overwhelming to impeach Gov. Blagojevich one month after he was arrested on corruption charges, setting up a Senate trial.”
Are you kidding me?!!! It took me all of 0.001 seconds to notice the error, and yet nobody as WSJ did? One would assume they have proofreaders on staff. Editors, maybe? I mean, somebody reads this stuff before it gets printed on the top of their homepage, right? It’s bad enough that the writer didn’t catch it, but when something so obvious gets printed you start wondering if anybody reads these articles other than the writers. It’s not just about spelling and grammar, it’s about trust. Can I trust a publication if nobody other than the writer is reading articles? Is anything being vetted? Are facts being checked?
If this were the first time such a thing had happened I wouldn’t say anything, but it isn’t. I’ve been noticing spelling and grammar errors on major news websites like CNN.com and WSJ.com for years, and they’re not infrequent. I’d guess as many as 25% of their articles include a fairly obvious spelling error, the kind spell-check wouldn’t detect because it’s only a spelling error based on context, the kind of spelling error computers cannot evidently detect. I can accept that kind of stuff on a blog, but the big guys should know better. They should be better. If the quality of their writing isn’t any better than a blogger’s, how can we be so sure their content is any more factual?
So here’s an idea, how about hiring a few college interns to read your articles, and pay them based on the number of errors they find? It wouldn’t be too difficult to build a system. You might even be able to employ a few English majors, and how much can they possibly cost?