Friday, June 01, 2007

Feeling cannibalized

Man, getting a taste of your own medicine hurts.

I just ran into a blog that had a lengthy entry ridiculing some of the headlines, copy and Web site glitches of the newspaper that I help edit. And all of the cited goofs (unbeknownst to the blogger but a little too beknownst to me) were my fault. Or, should I say, my oversight.

Day in and day out we get some of the most brutal, sarcastic and furious criticism for even the smallest micro-misunderstandings. Some of it gets posted on the wall for posterity. In a way it sucks; but it's also amusing because I see a lot of myself in those people. I loathe spelling and grammatical errors, especially when they appear in professional material. Everyone knows I've let other publications have it in the past for careless mistakes. There's simply no excuse for that.

On the other hand, I've come to learn that if you see one error in an article, it's because 15 others have been corrected. Not that anyone can see that (which is, of course, the idea). And that's how life is for a lot of people - do well 99 percent of the time, nobody notices; screw up once, however, and dig a hole to bury your dead reputation.

In the case of the blog in question, all I can do is bite the bullet and try not to make those mistakes again. What makes this weird to deal with, though, is that the particular mistake is something I avert every chance I get, but missed one time. And that's all it takes to get people making fun of you. Even if they don't know who "you" are.

The funniest thing about this? All the criticism I've seen regarding my headlines and such have come from liberal writers/bloggers who demand a more accurate and concise media. I've even been accused of deliberately trivializing the war on Iraq! To quote Calvin after Susie slammed him with a snowball he'd saved until June, "The irony of this is just sickening."

News mavens sure are a hard bunch to please. But that's really the way it should be. For what it's worth, I made mistakes that should have been corrected. To critics, I'd ask that you not confuse editorial vigilance with a presumptuous assault on character. I'll try harder. So should you.


Murph said...

Hey, Ian, just saw that you moved! Congrats on the job! And don't let that guy worry you too much--he's just keeping you honest.

Nick said...

As much as you like to correct my spelling of words on an unimportant blog, I'd be willing to bet I'm just as delligent as you are when it comes to my professional work.

Chances are, my real work is going to be read by attorneys or reps. from our client oil companies, so I give much more attention to that than I do with grammar and spelling on a political website.

Cajun Tiger said...

Way to be sign of one's willingness to continue to learn from his own mistakes is to admit them and to continue to try and do better.