Best Newspaper Fails and Corrections of 2012


Orbital Issues

This gem appeared in the Ottawa Citizen this past June after a misprint in an article about how Ottawa gets more solar energy during the summer solstice than the equator. Sure, it's a pretty harmless error, but it certainly doesn't inspire too much confidence in the fact-checking department at the paper for missing this nugget from fifth-grade science class.


Laughing in the Face of Death

Copy editing mistakes usually result in gibberish and confusion, but in this particular case, a rogue bit of commentary disgraced a recently deceased Welsh man. Appearing in The Western Mail, a newspaper in Wales, the caption was supposed to preview a story of an investigation of a recent train crash. Instead, the paper made light of a tragic death. The paper apologized quickly for the mistake.


Screw It, Skip Class

This wonderful little weather report appeared in The Daily Tar Heel in November 2011, but it's so good that we're making an exception. It's not every day that a weather editor can interject his or her personal thoughts into a quick forecast, but at UNC's daily paper, one editor summed up their feelings about the unseasonable weather for the whole campus to see. Here's to hoping literal and unfiltered weather forecasts become a thing in 2013!


Insert Four-Letter Word Here

An editor at South Carolina's Greenville News took matters into his own hands in an AP story about a big matchup between Georgia and LSU. For reasons only known by the offending editor, a rogue four-letter word was inserted into the AP story after the second paragraph that probably startled readers looking for their latest hit of college football news. Perhaps the editor was using his favorite vulgarity as a placeholder of some sort or perhaps it was a commentary on Georgia's chances against the Louisiana football powerhouse. Regardless, the result was pretty jarring and not exactly family friendly.


One Prolific Writer

In an April New York Times Opinionator column on punctuation, writer Ben Yagoda may have gotten a little carried away with the prolific nature of Charlotte's Web writer E.B. White's career. Referencing White's tenure as a writer for The New Yorker, Yagoda mistakenly noted that White had been working for the magazine for roughly 500 years. A totally forgivable error, but still, it's excellent to imagine the famed author chisling his prose on a tablet before the modern era.


‘Suit Yourself’

We're not going to spell this one out for you, but let's just say that The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review art department might want to REALLY think about its use of shadowing and perhaps wait for a more "suitable" occasion...

(h/t Romenesko)


Nickelback Rant

This really isn't a fail or a correction but it is sufficently excellent and no doubt has a place punctuating this list. Boise Weekly writer Josh Gross was apparently fed up with having to write blurbs about bands he believed to be sub-par and decided to sound off during a June write-up of a Nickelback concert at a nearby Idaho venue. While almost anyone would agree with Gross that $45 worth of hammers, Big Macs or pickles would be a better investment than a ticket to see Nickelback live in concert, he used his print platform to make a statement and we will be forever in his debt for that.

Full disclosure: It is with deep regret that I must admit that, in November 2001, I happened to be at a live concert with a number of musical acts of which Nickleback was one. 

(h/t Romenesko)