Friday, June 06, 2008

Question for the Detroit News

Or maybe someone more familiar with the printing/distribution process of newspapers can answer this for me. Seems the News made a teensy little mistake with today's paper-

Jonathan Wolman says the headline incorrectly read "Clinton, Osama meet to discuss unity" and appeared Friday on page 17A of about 45,000 newspapers distributed north and west of downtown Detroit.

Wolman says the error was the result of a wrong choice made during a spell-check search and was caught and corrected about 20 minutes after the newspaper began publishing.

Wolman says the newspaper "made an immediate fix, even with papers on the press, and we have apologized."

My question - why were the incorrect papers allowed to be distributed at all? Already on the truck, were they? That could be, I really have no idea - but given the time frame indicated by the News and their "quick fix", it seems like someone just didn't want to pay the expense of reprinting those copies. Better to let an inflammatory headline slide... what the heck, maybe even get a little publicity out of it too.

UPDATE: We did hear from someone "in the biz" who wishes to remain anonymous - and yes, this could very well be a physical logistics problem. If the trucks are gone, impossible to get them back and expect to have that day's paper delivered at any reasonable time. Also - and I've noticed this before too - in Microsoft Word, "Osama" is the word the program wants to replace "Obama" with. It happens in their Mail program as well. So, instead of being a vast right-wing conspiracy, it's actually a vast Microsoft conspiracy. ;-)

Given the far-right editorial slant of the Detroit News and the propensity of those on the right to make fun of Senator Obama's name, it becomes easy to question mistakes of this nature. For the record, I will say that the Detroit News is probably the best paper in the state as far as depth of articles and presentation of content. As far as their journalism goes, they are really good, and I'm sure they won't let this happen again.

Perhaps someday they will take a deeper look at their editorial stance and find some balance that reflects the reality of the world we live in - at that point, an error like this can be forgiven as just an error, rather than thinking that there might be some deeper meaning behind it.