The story: The Scandalously Boring Truth About Michael Jackson’s Will (forbes.com 8-17-12)
The mistakes: “Michael’s first child—Prince Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr., born on in February—is mentioned by name… ”
“Others have confirmed that the King of Pop was in the Big Apple that day.”
The Copy Vigilante says: A big beer company once ran a “born on” ad campaign where they bragged about the freshness of their beer. The editor who worked on this story must have had a few at lunch because he/she couldn’t figure out if the article should get Prince’s precise birth date or just the month. As for the hyperlink, the editor forgot to underline “Big” and make it a link to NYC. Although something tells me their “editing” software decided to make this just a link to the company Apple. Hey Forbes, turn Hal off now!
The story: Has Air France Flight 447 mystery finally been solved? (cnn.com 7-4-12)
The mistakes: The lack of speed, wind or direction information also prevented the Autopilot system from functioning, said air accident investigator Alain Bouillard said at the time of the crash.
According to Learmount, many aviation experts have yet to rule out the human factor. “The crash happened at around 2:00 a.m. on a dark night…”
“Whether it was out of control — and I doubt this — it was not being controlled. Imagine it is 2 am and two sleepy pilots…”
The Copy Vigilante says: We don’t need two “saids” but do need consistency when it comes to showing the time. It’s either 2:00 a.m. or 2 am so come on CNN, pick one!
The story: Brought Mars to Earth With a Lyrical Mastery (nytimes.com 6-6-12)
The mistakes: Instead, he read everything he could get his hands on: Edgar Allan Poe, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway .
“ I’m not a serious person, and I don’t like serious people…”
The Copy Vigilante says: I think Ray Bradbury’s fascination with space got to the writer and editor of his NY Times obituary. Ahem. There should not be a space between the last word of a sentence and the punctuation, nor should there be a space between an open apostrophe mark and the word following it.
The story: Sci-fi legend Ray Bradbury dies (cnn.com 6-6-12)
The mistake: “In my later years I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back.” he wrote in a book of essays published in 2005. “Occasionally I wonder why I can be so happy…”
The Copy Vigilante says: The screaming period that stops this sentence dead should be a comma. Hello cnn.com, did any of your editors take Editing 101?!
The story: Now Spain Circles the Drain (Forbes.com 5-26-12)
The mistake: Much of the news about the impending doom of the eurozone concentrates upon Greece: but Greece has never really been the problem. It’s 2% (and falling) of eurozone GDP, it leaving and defaulting will be expensive but not fatal to anything other than the idea of ever closer union within the European Union.
The Copy Vigilante says: Huh? I don’t even know where to begin with this awful sentence. First of all an “and” is needed between “GDP,” and “it” and it also desperately needs to be broken into two sentences. Although I don’t know if that could save the part about not being fatal “to anything other than…” Actually it is fatal all right, to decent writing and editing everywhere!