Monday, July 13, 2009

Kill Poe before serving

Anything look familiar in this morning's NYT corrections?

The column also misspelled the given name of a journalist and venture capitalist who argued for more disclosure. He is Alan D. Mutter, not Allan.

Maybe it's this, from yesterday's NYT corrections:

A cover article last Sunday about Isaac Stern’s 1979 visit to China, chronicled in the documentary “From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China,” misspelled the given name of one of the filmmakers. He is Allan Miller, not Alan.

Given the Times's well-documented troubles with Edgar Allan Poe ("at least 82" misspellings noted in the delightful "Kill Duck Before Serving," and they weren't the last), here's a suggestion. Any reporter turning in a story that mentions anyone named Allan (or Alan, or Allen, or Alun, or Allyn, or Ælwyne) will henceforth leave a major credit card with the chief of the appropriate copy desk. If the name turns out to be misspelled, the copy editors take the credit card to the bar.

Or, more practically, the Times could spend less time enforcing its more arcane style rules and more time -- on the apparently well-founded assumption that reporters can't or won't do it themselves -- looking up every Allan that crosses the desk. It'd be nice to get up to the coin-toss level of accuracy, at least.



Blogger Rob Velella said...

The NYT isn't the only one with Poe problems. I suggested my own solution at my Poe blog.

2:30 PM, July 13, 2009  

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