07 April 2009

To Write Is Good, To Edit Divine

My job includes several substantial editorial assignments. I know what it's like to sweat under deadlines and how easily typos happen. In fact, I can't even look at a book we've published after it comes back from the press. I'm too afraid of what mistakes I might find.

One title we published (not one of mine) was a work of Islamic philosophy called the Decisive Treatise. The cover designer got confused and set the title on the spine as, Decisive Treaty. The editor caught it in the first round of proofs and corrected it, but when later design adjustments were made, the designer accidentally used his original file. So, yes, the spine was printed as, Decisive Treaty. Ugh.

So I winced in sympathy upon hearing of a small but catastrophic typo in yesterday's Daily Universe, our campus newspaper, whereby a photo of LDS apostles at the recent general conference was captioned, "Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostates." When discovered, the university rushed to pull the 15,000 copies of the paper out of circulation, replacing it with a corrected print run later in the day. Here are the gory details.


Mister Fweem said...

Uuuuhm, do I know that feeling. At Uncharted, we recently self-published a book, and I, too, couldn't bear to look at it for fear of the typos we'd discover. Finally saw the book a month after publication and yes there are typos.

Also heard about the Daily Universe kerfuffle. I have to congratulate them by going to the extent they did to fix the error. I know of no other paper in the universe that would have gone out to collect an entire print run, destroy it, then print again. Reminds me of that part in "High Anxiety" where Nurse Diesel and Dr. Montague are trying to figure out how to destroy photographic evidence that had appeared in a newspaper. "I know! We'll buy all the newspapers and burn them. Let's see. We'll need about $10,000 in small change. And a truck. A BIIIIIIIG truck," Dr. Montague says. "What do you think?" "It's a stupid plan," Nurse Diesel replies. "It sucks."

carl g said...

In an editorial today the editors said that the recall was "unprecedented." Having your jobs flash before your eyes can cause all kinds of unprecedented action.