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