Deep in the heart of Texas: Anna Nicole, Houston Chronicle to compete in spelling be

March 29th, 2007 → 11:06 am @ // 7 Comments

On Wednesday, the Houston Chronicle ran the following caption on a picture illustrating a story about Anna Nicole Smith:

“..the model could barely right a sentence.”

On a different story, a critic for that same paper recently produced this gem, “She looks a bit uneasy when she bears her breasts to the camera.” (This was obviously not about ANS, who never looked uneasy when she was baring her breasts.) (Warning: that link is neither safe for work or family friendly.)*

It makes one think. Rarely is the question asked: is our newspapers learning?
(The original link — not the Anna Nicole Smith one — via Romenesko.)

* Neither “right” nor “bears” was misspelled; however, a Chronicle columnist recently spelled diminished “disminished,” prompting one of the paper’s readers to comment, “You’d think spell checker would catch that type of mistake.” You’d think, right? And I’ve thunk. But for some reason that I still don’t understand, newspapers are unable to use a feature that’s been built in to word processing programs for the last, say, 20 years.
You’d think spell checker would catch that type of mistake.
disminished


Post Categories: Anna Nicole Smith & Houston Chronicle & Media & Romenesko

7 Comments → “Deep in the heart of Texas: Anna Nicole, Houston Chronicle to compete in spelling be”


  1. TPIRman

    10 years ago

    Great point. I’ve often wondered about cases like “disminished,” too.

    My theory is that reporters and columnists become inured to Microsoft Word’s modern spell-check feature. Anybody who’s ever typed up a lengthy piece in Word — especially one with a lot of proper nouns — has seen that the page sprouts a multitude of red zigzag underlines for words that are not in the program’s dictionary. Sure, you could go through and right-click on each word, adding it to your “custom” dictionary.

    But most of the time, I think writers fall into a habit of ignoring the red lines because they don’t fell like stopping their work to teach the computer that yes, “Mientkiewicz” is spelled correctly. Thus even though Word will dutifully flag a slip-up like “disminished,” the program cries wolf too many times for the feature to be effective on a human level.

    Reply

  2. CBaker

    10 years ago

    It’s not the fact that journalists have become so sleazy and so lazy that they can’t press the “Abc” spell-check button that bothers me most. What bothers me most is that journalists don’t take the time to read over what they have written. Maybe they just don’t care? At least there are a few published writers out there that actually care about their jobs.

    Reply

  3. deversm

    10 years ago

    With this gem:

    On Wednesday, the Houston Chronicle ran the following caption on a picture illustrating a story about Anna Nicole Smith:

    “..the model could barely right a sentence.”

    I think Seth has discovered THE perfect example of irony.

    Reply

  4. kinshane

    10 years ago

    Mnookmeister, how do you know the sentence wasn’t upset and needed righting? You know, like an apple cart or something.

    Reply

  5. vanillathunder

    10 years ago

    Following kinshane, “right” could have been used in the sense of creating like a “shipwright”…oh yeah, that’s misspelled too.

    Reply

  6. patgray77

    10 years ago

    (Warning: that link is neither safe for work or family friendly.)*

    Glass Houses for the grammer police?

    That’s “grammar.” — Seth

    Reply

  7. patgray77

    10 years ago

    Touche. I broke a window.

    Reply

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