My best catches: Q4 2012

My office gives out the CQ Award for Copy Editing Excellence quarterly to the copy editor whose recent catches best illustrate how we save the paper’s bacon. This is a sampling of the catches I submitted for Q4 of 2012.

Items in strikethrough were removed from the story, highlighted items were added.

Oct. 7 — He remembers periods from about 2003 to 2007 that brought 10 to 15 annexations a year for the city, Wheeless said. At one time, the southwest border of Bentonville stopped near a curve marking the intersection of North Walton Boulevard with South Walton Boulevard split of U.S. 71 and Arkansas 12.

NOTE: N. and S. Walton do not intersect. Story was referring to “Rainbow Curve” (Bentonville colloquialism) a few miles south.

Oct. 24 — Thousands of Muslim pilgrims in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, circle the Kaaba, the cube-shaped structure that Muslims around the world pray to seven times a day, during events Tuesday ahead of the annual hajj, which begins later this week.

NOTE: Factual error. Muslims face the Kaaba when they pray, but only pray five time a day. They circle the Kaaba seven times while on hajj.

Oct. 31 — After answering the door of his southwest Little Rock home, a man was shot and killed in his doorway late Tuesday afternoon morning, marking the third killing in the city in less than a week.
According to police, Darrin Williams, 43, heard a knock on the door of his 3 Sandhurst Circle home about 11:30 a.m. and went to answer.

NOTE: 11:30 a.m. is still morning.

Nov. 10 — In a statement, Faulkner County Judge Preston Scroggin thanked all whose donations and efforts have made the memorial possible.

NOTE: Missing first reference

Nov. 27 — The Ward businessman set to appear before a judge this morning after his Saturday arrest for fatally shooting in the fatal shooting of an employee was upset about the victim’s sales performance, according to investigators.

NOTE: For implies guilt, possible libel issue

Nov. 27 — A Stuttgart man faces 229 charges after police arrested him for and accused him of trying to cash stolen lottery tickets in a Little Rock convenience store, according to arrest reports.

NOTE: For implies guilt, possible libel issue

Nov. 28 — The high school closed in 2009 when enrollment at the Gillett School District dropped below 350 students — a number mandated by the state. Students are bused to nearby DeWitt.

NOTE: Under Arkansas law, school districts are subject to shut once total DISTRICT enrollment drops below 350. Story originally made it sound like high school’s enrollment fell below 350.

Dec. 1 — Robert Lee, 39, was charged Friday with theft by receiving for in the theft of a 53-foot trailer from Virginia on Nov. 10. The trailer is valued at more than $17,000, the arrest report states.

NOTE: For implies guilt and opens us up to libel.

Dec. 10 — The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday said it will take up same-sex marriage sometime during the current term. Several pending cases challenge the federal benefit provision of the act. A separate appeal asks the justices to decide whether federal courts were correct in striking down California’s Proposition 8, an amendment that outlawed gay marriage, after it had been approved by California courts in the nation’s largest most populous state.

NOTE: Factual error via vagueness. California is most populous, Alaska is largest by area (Calif. is #3)

Dec. 12 — “He said it was total devastation,” Farris said. “He never talked a lot about his military time. It was a horrible, horrible site sight.”

NOTE: Wrong word.

Dec. 17 — In Van Buren County, 39.1 percent of children were found to be living in poverty in 2011, up 9.8 percent percentage points from 2007, the highest percentage percentage-point increase of the five counties identified by census estimates.

NOTE: Percent vs. percentage point

My best catches: Q3 2012

My office gives out the CQ Award for Copy Editing Excellence quarterly to the copy editor whose recent catches best illustrate how we save the paper’s bacon. This is a sampling of the catches I submitted for Q3 of 2012.

Items in strikethrough were removed from the story, highlighted items were added.

July 7For Mabry’s crime of obstructing an official proceeding, to which he pleaded guilty on April 1, 2010, Jegley recommended a 40 percent reduction in the penalty range of 10 to 14 months in prison suggested by federal sentencing guidelines. That reduced the minimum penalty to six months, qualifying Mabry for probation in lieu of prison time.

NOTE: Story had not mentioned Mabry’s crime.

July 8BREAKFAST AND A MOVIE: RISE & ROLL ’EM! Riverdale 10 Cinemas on Cantrell Road in Little Rock recently adjusted its opening time to 9 a.m. While it’s hard to imagine going to watch Magic Mike or Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer Hunter at that hour, screening kids’ flicks like Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted and Brave seems inspired. Hey, if they’ve already gotten their parents out of bed early, why not take them to catch a movie?

NOTE: Removes drug reference, corrects movie titles.

July 8 — In a final report submitted Jan. 16, Shuler Schuler Shook concluded that with improvements, “the overall acoustic quality of the room will be generally excellent and comparable to other major state university music facilities.”

NOTE: Company name misspelled.

July 8 — Killed item about a man being reunited with the 1967 Austin Healey stolen from him in 1968. Had previously run in paper.

July 16 — She said not everyone who comes isn’t is homeless; often they’re families who may have a home, but don’t have stable access to food.

NOTE: Misplaced negative.

July 17 — Pointed out that under 1A headline saying 2 were fired from Oxford American that one of the mugs was of someone not being fired. I explained that his mug with that headline made it seem Warwick Sabin, publisher and legislative candidate, was one of the two being fired. Alternate headline used as result for state. For city, Sabin mug was moved the back page, second fired employee’s mug took its place on the front, and old headline was restored.

July 18Argemagni Ardemagni is a volunteer with World Changers, an international nonprofit that sends youths to work with agencies that provide adequate housing to low-income people.

NOTE: Misspelled name

July 18 — Lawmakers asked the Department of Finance and Administration’s Office of Personnel Management to review whether the American Sign Language interpreter meets the minimum qualifications for the position with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services.

NOTE: Story was all about hiring of interpreter, but we never said what she was interpreting.

July 30 — UA’s enrollment of students from minority groups — excluding foreign students — increased nearly 80 percent from the fall of 2005 to the fall of 2011, from 2,123 students to 3,820, according to the institutional research office.
Last fall, the number of minority-group students at UA stood at 3,500, 16.5 percent of the total student body, exceeding the university’s 2015 goals for minority-group enrollment.
Last fall, minority-group students comprised 16.5 percent of UA’s student body, exceeding the university’s goal for minority-group enrollment by 2015.

NOTE: Number discrepancy. 3,500 figure was figure UA needed to meet goal, not actual enrollment number. That reconciled percentage. Also tightened paragraph.

Aug. 1 — Rose, notable for playing for the University of Michigan’s “Fab Five,” helped the team reach the win two NCAA Men’s Division I Championships championship game in 1992 and 1993.

NOTE: Factual error. Michigan lost both years. (And had it won it wouldn’t have counted anyway since Michigan had to vacate all its victories for those years).

Aug. 5 — Touchdown was set for 10:31 p.m. PDT 12:31 a.m. CDT Monday. NASA warned that spotty communication during landing could delay confirmation for several hours or even days.

NOTE: Tailored times to our Central-time audience. Also resulted in switching a few “today” mentions to “Monday.”

Aug. 8 — The theft occurred in Greenville, Miss., on either June 14 13 or June 15 14. The truck was recovered the next day in Belzoni, Miss. The trailer was found in a field outside Cleveland, Miss., on Aug. 1.

NOTE: Later down in story we say theft reported June 14 and cite incident report saying, “the driver last saw the truck … at 10:30 p.m. June 13 and noticed it was missing about 7:45 a.m. June 14.”

Aug. 15 — WEHCO Media Inc., the parent company of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and WHECO WEHCO Video Inc., contacted the Federal Aviation Administration after the fire melted power lines surrounding a microwave relay station in Clark County.

NOTE: Misspelled company name.

Aug. 18 — Crystal Bridges opened Nov. 11, 2001 2011, and the series began in May.

NOTE: Factual error.

Aug. 19 — Some people believe that the amendment could still be adopted if three more states ratify it, an idea debunked doubted by others.

NOTE: Hasn’t been proven wrong, just up for debate.

Aug. 19 — The 2011 Arkansas Poll done by the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville showed him with the a 72 percent approval rating.
The poll was conducted by phone with 800 random adult Arkansans from Oct. 14-19. Its margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.

NOTE: House rules require mention of poll’s method statistics.

Aug. 22 — The other is a dinner to honor former University of Arkansas track coach John McDonald McDonnell on Nov. 15.

NOTE: Misspelled name.

Sept. 11 — Spiked jail gardening story that was essentially unchecked quote after unchecked quote from a jail consultant with little news value other than to say he spoke to jail officials. No response from the jail officials. No one saying they were considering a garden.

Sept. 15 — Paula Casey, interim dean at the University of Arkansas Bowen School of Law W.H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, said a client’s signature isn’t necessary to file a suit, though it’s a common practice for many attorneys.

NOTE: Wrong name, wrong university

Sept. 15 — The highest fine, $2,740, was against the Arkansas Hotels and Entertainment Ballot Committee, which supported a measure to legalize casino gambling and build seven casinos in the state.
The fine is due by Oct. 13. It represents $10 for each of the 240 days the reports were late.

NOTE: Incorrect math.