August 26, 2004

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if they taught humility and humbleness in journalism school? Apparently this editor must have missed that day in class. My proofreader, yes proofreader, pointed out to me a minor glitch in my devastating blow toward what seems like an ever growing number of critics.

A little background, in case you missed last week’s paper. The latest unsigned “letter to the editor” critiqued the newspaper’s spelling of peddle in the Antique Fair advertisements. When we were telling people about pedal tractor pulls, we were inadvertently informing them of peddle tractor pulls. So an anonymous writer dropped us a little note informing us of the issue.

I’m not really sure what set me off down this path. This letter was not extremely critical or derogatory. The short note simply pointed out that we had made a mistake, and that the writer had caught the miscue and was smart enough to know the difference. While I’m sure there were lots of others that saw the typo and simply went on, this writer decided to notify the publication of the problem.

But for whatever reason, I responded. I may have gone a little overboard, piling on the sarcasm and pointing out the three proofreading mistakes in the short piece of work.

I make this confession after our proofreader pointed out to me on Monday morning that I might want to change our weekly identification statement on page two. Not only does it meet all the postal requirements by listing our key information it also identifies our current staff including our Proof Reader.

I got mad about someone proofreading my mistakes. So wasn’t it ironic that I tried to showoff by proofreading my proofreader, when in fact I was correcting her mistaken proof reader even though I was making the same mistake every week when I was identifying our proof reader.

So, maybe next time I get all big headed or think I need to blow off some steam, I should listen to my own message. I wanted to tell my critic that people that live in glass houses should not throw stones. Apparently I couldn’t hear myself thinking because of all that noise my glass house was making falling down around me.

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