Sunday, April 11, 2010

Literally!

Here's one for the Annals of Editing Decisions. Over at the Wichita Eagle, the second graf of the wire story (from the LA Times) on the Polish plane crash at Smolensk begins like this:

It was, literally, a nation colliding with its past.

At LATimes.com, the sentence reads:

It was, in a sense, a nation colliding with its past.

I'm not interested in which sentence is "right" (or in whether two things can collide, literally or metaphorically, if one of them isn't moving, or whether it matters if the one that isn't moving is the literal or the metaphoric). But it'd be cool to find out which one was the original and where the change was made: On the wire? Between editions at the Times? At the subscriber paper's desk?

It's showing up both ways on the intartubes: "literally" at St. Louis and Seattle, "in a sense" at Stars & Stripes and Honolulu. Myrtle Beach got around it it by simply removing the qualifier: "It was a nation colliding with its past."

Given the pall that hangs over "literally," inquiring minds would like to know. Any insights out there in readerland?

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bet the Higgs boson could make it happen literally.

12:08 AM, April 12, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just stunned someone is editing wire copy.

1:31 PM, April 13, 2010  

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