City Desk

WaPo Byline Meltdown!

The second page of the Metro section in my Washington Post this morning contained two grave byline anomalies.

First up: Debbie Wilgoren. As any Metro-reading vet knows, that's one too many vowels for this longtime Postie's byline.

Then, on an adjacent story: Darryl FEARS. Someone messed up, big-time, the most basic of typesetting tasks.

Does this mean that last spring's buyouts are starting to hurt the paper in small but noticeable ways? Those buyouts hit the Post's copy desk like a fire alarm.

Last time I checked the Post's site, both of these strange bylines were still intact. We'll be updating this fast-moving story throughout Super Bowl weekend.

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  • Muenster Python

    There was also a photo of in the Weekend section of John Cleese with the caption "John Cheese."

  • Eyewitness

    Bonus: A story in business this week twice identified Marriott as the area's "premiere" hotel company. The correct word is "premier." This is the kind of screwup that used to be limited to Sports (working knowledge of English was never a requirement on the Sports copy desk). Now it's spreading across the paper. Troubling.

  • but …

    maybe the reporters should be able to spell their names correctly on their stories

  • Fred

    This will even things out with the Examiner where grammatical errors and typos are legion.

    But, wow, I didn't think it was possible for anyone to be more negatively obsessed with the Post than I am, but CityPaper, you win the prize hands down!

    And, I bow to you, sirs and mesdames.

    But now, please redirect your attention to the sorry state of your own homepage, and make it more user-friendly!!!!!!!

    PLEASE!!!!!

    What else can I do to convince you?!!!!!

  • daveflave

    Obviously the reporters know how to spell their own names.geezzz..and I agree the obsession with the POST is getting so old. I am a fan of the City Paper, but it has its own serious problems......

  • Dave

    Yeah I hate how the City Paper always thinks its shit doesn't stink, like it's never made a copyediting error before. And don't give me this crap about "Oh, but the WP has 1,000 times the resources we have." Bullshit. If you're gonna throw stones, make sure there's no glass in your house. Period.

  • daveflave

    exactly...and lets not get into erik's stupid obsession with that deneen person ... after a while it makes this paper which is clearly fresher and edgier look like a little pathetic junior stalker....get over it...and yeah David i too have seen plenty of typos in the city paper....resources or no resources!!!!

  • Jason Cherkis

    We are working on the homepage issues. We know it's tough to navigate. We feel your pain.

    As for the typos, I make them all the time! Especially on the blog. But there's a difference between tiny errors of grammar and, well, what Erik highlights above.

    I don't know what's going on with the Post. I do know that since we've had our own financial woes, we've lost one copy editor and one proofreader. We are working to fix that problem. It kills us when we see tiny errors or big typos in WCP.

    One last thing, Erik isn't obsessed with the Post. His beat is covering the media. It's inevitable that he would write about the Post on a regular basis. It's the big paper in town!

  • Fred

    For the record, I did not say Erik is obsessed with the Post, I said the CityPaper is. (Note: I also bowed.)

    The CityPaper has been the slightly, not fully, alt-y bombthrower in town for years. It's their schtick. They throw bombs, they don't make solutions. Eh, I'm a little used to it by now. When I first moved here, it truly bothered me. They were, I thought, irresponsibly provocative. Now, with so few local resources, I'm just glad there's another set of eyes and ears out there. I just hope they can be a real investigative paper, and find out SOMETHING NEW, not just whine and criticize the Post (satisfying in the short-term, yes).

    I miss the Washington Spark. That was a real alternative paper, and there's been nothing like it since they folded.

    Maybe they can make something of these blogs. That's what I keep getting them after about!

  • Jim

    Way to sock it to the Post, WCP. Please continue to keep us posted on the most inane misspellings in our real local newspaper.

  • Jim

    Also, Erik, in the third paragraph of your post on misspellings, should "big-time" be hyphenated?

  • Andrew Beaujon

    @Jim: AP style says to retain the hyphen when a modifier that would normally precede a noun occurs after a verb "to avoid confusion."

  • Arthur Delaney

    pwned

  • Erik Wemple

    Lots of people addressing me by name here, so I better respond to some of this. Look, these mistakes just jumped right out at me as I was reading the paper on Saturday morning, and I felt compelled to point them out. It's the height of incompetence to not get your own bylines right. Yes, we have had many mistakes in the past, and I think in one instance, perhaps a decade or so ago, we might have misspelled the name of a writer for our own paper, but if so, we deserved to get slammed for it. Dave says no throwing stones unless you make sure there's no glass in your own house. Nonsense. In that case, media criticism would cease to exist altogether. So no, we at WCP do not need to be perfect in order to criticize other outlets. As to resources, yes, we've lost a lot of them, and the situation has crimped our ability to do our work. We've tried to plow ahead and not complain about it.

    Thanks to everyone who has commented here.

  • Fred

    Erik, you were fine in pointing out those mistakes. I am noticing more and more of them all the time.

    Jim, the Washington Post is not a local paper.

  • Dave

    I'm not criticizing the fact that you do media criticism. I'm criticizing how you do it. You slam the Post constantly, on this site and in the dead tree edition, for seemingly every mistake they commit. Yet you only acknowledge your own mistakes when specifically called out by your readers, and even then you only acknowledge them in the comments section of your blog posts.

    I'm not saying Howard Kurtz should be the gold standard here, but I think he does a good job of critiquing his colleagues as well as other news outlets. Now, obviously, his columns are significantly blander and less entertaining than yours. But they're also less obnoxious.

    I'm not saying you should stop bashing the Post. Someone needs to and I'm glad you guys are doing it. Just bash them in a more evenhanded way.

    And maybe be more forthcoming with your own mistakes from time to time. (Like mistaking Free For All for Close To Home. What happened there?)

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