Why editors will always have a job

Editing is a profession that will always employ people. Computers just aren’t good enough at it. You type something into a computer, pharm do a grammar check, and you think it is fine. However, sometimes (often?) it is not.

For example, today I opened the Salt Lake Tribune’s website, and I read the top story (in the Breaking News section) about the horrific commuter train accident in LA. The Trib picked up an article from the AP, and posted it to their website, obviously without editing it. Here is the text of the article straight from the Trib’s website:

Breaking: Suburban L.A. trains derail, killing 9.
A Metrolink commuter train struck a vehicle, derailed and sideswiped another train early today, killing nine people and at least 100 others, authorities said.

What is unfortunate about that, is the article states that the train killed nine people, “and at least 100 others.” When you read other media reports (like the one on CNN‘s website) you realize that the 100 others were injured, not killed.

Just to see how many media outlets published the AP story directly, without checking it first, I did a Google News search on the phrase “killing nine people and at least 100 others“. I found six outlets world-wide had made the same unfortunate mistake. (See my images of the SLTrib site and the Google search results, which I made in case they change.)

I don’t mean to minimize the tragedy in LA, but I continue to find it interesting how one small mistake can make a big difference in meaning. That is, technically speaking.

3 responses to “Why editors will always have a job”

  1. Rick doesn’t like me posting anonymously, but not having enough happen in my life to blog, I think I’ll stay that way…
    I’m grateful not all news reports are accurate.

  2. Way to pick up on that one, Paul. It’s a great example of how things like AP and Reuters have largely turned the media into a lazy institution recently. Horrific mistakes like this get into the news all too often.

    I’m glad we’ll always have a use for editors — they’re great people. And, personally, I hate the computerized grammar checkers. But you already know that, probably.

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