Yellowstone quake story leaves grammarians ‘strucken’

From The Reader Advocate, The Salt Lake Tribune, P.O. Box 867, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110. E-mail: email hidden; JavaScript is required

I hang my head in shame over the grammatical error in our Friday story about the earthquakes in Yellowstone National Park.

Although the error was corrected when it got to the online version, the first sentence of the story that ran in the paper read:

"The rumbling appears to have abated, but University of Utah scientists are busy analyzing a ‘swarm’ of 900 earthquakes that have strucken Yellowstone National Park since Dec. 26."

After he picked himself up off the floor, one reader e-mailed:

" ‘A cluster of earthquakes that have strucken ?’ Please tell me your copy editor was on vacation !"

Over the past months, as I am sure most of our readers know, the bottom fell out of the economy. The Salt Lake Tribune has not been immune to this recession. That means we have fewer copy editors looking at stories before they go into the paper.

From time to time, we will pull a real boner.

I saw the final proof from Friday’s A1 and read the editor’s notation to change the verb form to either "struck" or "stricken." In a hurry to get the page sent to West Valley City for printing, the copy editor chose "stricken" but did not change the "u" to an "i."

Personally, I would have gone with have struck.

Confused by headline? – Readers of Friday’s Valley West zone section were greeted with a strange headline. It was supposed to say "Volunteer: Taylorsville man honored." But it actually read: "Topic_label – Dignissim wisi."

Even those who are fluent in Latin could not recognize such a phrase—used as a placeholder as the designer laid out the page.

The headline appeared above a picture and story on dedicated Jordan River volunteer Adriaan Boogaard.

How could that happen?

According to Scott Murphy, the news editor who handles the zone sections, here’s how:

"During layout, a dummy version of the story was used to determine length. The headline was never replaced—even after the bad headline was found in page proofs. At least the story survived and made it into print."

http://www.sltrib.com

Print Friendly

Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication. STC member since 1974.