My best catches: Q1 2013

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 Q1 of 2013.

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

Jan. 9 — The conference will examine the laws and regulations put into place by the bill’s extension and its affect effect on crop insurance, according to a release.
NOTE: Wrong word.

Jan. 9Reservations and more information can be obtained by contacting To reserve a spot or to obtain more information, contact Harrison Pittman at or (479) 575-7640.
NOTE: House style on imperative tone

Jan. 9Caught factual errors in story confusing the term “immigrant” and “alien” in comparison to house stylebook and dictionary definitions. Story was held.

Jan. 9 —The Quorum Court’s Administration Committee voted 7-0 to recommend the ordinance “expressing the willingness of Pulaski County to share [the] cost” of the bridge to the full Quorum Court, which meets on Jan. 22. The Quorum Court’s County Services Committee voted 4-2 in favor of the proposal with two abstentions. It needed five votes in that committee, which has eight members. A recommendation from one committee is enough to advance the proposal to the full Quorum Court.
NOTE: Clarifies that one failure doesn’t kill proposal

Jan. 9 — Under a proposed agreement of understanding between Pulaski County and the Highway Department, the county would pay the $20 million in three virtually equal payments over three years beginning with a payment of $6,666,666 after construction bids are received but before the contract is awarded. The two remaining $666,666,667 $6,666,667 payments would be submitted one and two years after the initial payment, according to the proposed agreement.
NOTE: Number error to the tune of $1.32 billion (you’re welcome, taxpayers)

Jan. 12 — Arkansas should toughen it’s its human-trafficking laws and provide more services for victims, a group of lawmakers said Friday.
NOTE: Wrong word; caught on slot

Jan. 13 — Lawmakers will spend much of their time dealing with a projected $298 million Medicaid shortfall.
NOTE: Number error – missing million; caught on proof

Jan. 14 — Last Easter, a pipe bomb was found outside a Mormon church meetinghouse 11⁄2 miles from Harrison.
NOTE: Mormons use different terminology.

Jan. 16 — It would provide $235 million to rebuild the flood-damaged Veterans Administration Affairs hospital in Lower Manhattan as well as other VA medical facilities in the region.
NOTE: Agency’s name changed in 1989.

Jan. 16 — The city is opposing Judge Wendell Griffin’s Griffen’s order to pay $2,397 to the owner of the Heritage House Inn for delaying the motel’s reopening after the South University Avenue motel had been shut down by court order for eight months for repeated city code violations.
NOTE: Misspelled name

Jan. 28 — The state Senate passed a bill last week that would add Arkansas to a 42 43-state compact that waves waives state-specific academic requirements for the children of active-duty military members who have met similar requirements in other states.

Arkansas is one of eight seven states that has not joined the compact. The others are Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, New York , and New Hampshire. and Washington D.C. Washington D.C. also hasn’t joined the compact.
NOTE: Washington, D.C. mistaken for a state, causing numerical errors.

Jan. 29District closes 2nd time in week due to sickness Second district in week closes due to sickness
NOTE: Factual error in original headline. Closures were in two different districts. Caught on slot.

Jan. 29 — TULSA — Tulsa police have arrested a man on a first-degree murder complaint for in a stabbing death.
NOTE: For implies guilt, opens up possibility of libel. Caught on slot.

Jan. 29Community centers to get new workout equipment Community centers seek upgrades to workout gear
Working out at Little Rock’s Jim Dailey Fitness and Aquatic Center is about to get a little more high-tech as new equipment rolls into the fitness center and two of the city’s community centers.
Staff at Little Rock’s Jim Dailey Fitness and Aquatic Center hope to make workouts a little more high tech with plans for new equipment.
NOTE: Hed and lede jump the gun, nothing approved yet. Caught on slot.

Jan. 29Police spokesman Sgt. Cassandra Davis offered no further suspect information Monday and said that investigators were interested in identifying the woman and speaking with her.
NOTE: Missing first reference. Caught on slot.

Feb. 2 — Two Springfield, Ill., women were arrested Thursday evening, one for on charges of trafficking in persons and the other with on charges of promoting prostitution, according to Little Rock police.

A Little Rock man was arrested Thursday for his involvement in in connection with a shootout shootout earlier this last month at the Woodhaven Apartments in Little Rock.
NOTE: For implies guilt; wrong month.

Feb. 5 — Vytas Ratkevicius, a resident of Vilnius, Latvia Lithuania, lights a wood stove to heat his apartment on Jan. 23.
NOTE: Factual error, wrong country. Caught on slot.

Feb. 17 — By comparison, Courtway said, Pepsi’s contract, which expires May 30, has provided about $120,000 annually in auxiliary revenue. Of that sum, UCA has been giving 70 percent $70,000 to athletics, 25 percent $25,000 to the student center and 25 percent $25,000 to housing.
NOTE: Percentages added up to 120%. Called reporter who found out the numbers were actually dollar amounts.

Feb. 23 — Smoke billows from a burning car vehicle Friday morning as a North Little Rock firefighter lays down a stream of water. The car vehicle caught fire in a westbound lane of Interstate 40 near the JFK Boulevard exit.
NOTE: Judging from photo, the vehicle appeared too high off the ground to be a car.

March 1 — “Jambo” means “Welcome” in African Swahili.
NOTE: Factual error. “African” is not a language.

  • Robert Knilands

    Dude, your line editors at that paper must have really sucked. Sucked hard. Good catches on your part, though.

    • LukeMorris

      Assigning editors and copy editors are looking for different things. AEs are responsible for making sure all the information readers need makes it in the story. My job is to make sure that information is improperly communicated. It’s a complementary system of editing.

      But I’m happy for the compliment of my own work!

      • Robert Knilands

        If papers are going to go without copy editors — and several of them in Gannett seem destined to do so — I don’t think it will work to say assigning editors aren’t responsible for catching those types of errors. (Also, I think you meant to say “properly communicated.” See, that second read does wonders!)

        Back in the day, I should have kept a better record of some of the mistakes I encountered. I did have a log from one paper, but once it became apparent most of the journalism world didn’t really care, I tossed it.