Monday, November 3

Alas, sub-editors can't hide their mistakes

newspaper heading shows spelling error

Perhaps it's unwise to highlight the mishaps of other journalists, as Amanda Meade does in Talking Turkeys, a centrepiece of The Diary which she writes in The Australian's weekly Media section.

Today, they included “the wife of a 1980s corporate radar” to describe Janet Holmes a Court (from The West Australian's Weekend Magazine) and “not adverse to taking on political leaders” (The Age's Business Day).

Still, Ms Meade does have a reputation for reporting without fear or favour, even about her own newspaper – I seem to recall her being sidelined some years ago when she failed to carry out an instruction to remove an unfavourable reference to her employer – so no doubt Talking Turkeys next week will include the headline above, taken from the front page of The Oz's Business section this morning.

As News Limited's Style Book (the one I took with me when I retired five years ago) says:

Pass: The past tense of the verb to pass is passed, not past.”

My red pen also hovered above “bogy”, but the Style Book rules – correctly, according to the Macquarie – it's “bogy” for the ghost, “bogie” for an undercarriage, and “bogey” in golf. And, if you're interested, it's Colonel Bogey.
newspaper clipping shows misspelling of bogey

So the heading uses the correct spelling. Pity about the text, though.

To be honest, I don't get much of a laugh out of other journalists' errors. I've made too many myself.

Talking Turkeys works much better when it highlights the stilted or pretentious drivel which sometimes pops up in our media – or in the gushy handouts of public relations spruikers. That's the type of content which drives Pseuds Corner in British satirical magazine Private Eye, which may have inspired Talking Turkeys.

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