June 11th, 2007 → 8:05 am @ Seth Mnookin
In what must be some kind of record, it only took 177 words of this morning’s Times story on Random House for the paper to muff the spelling of Kurt Andersen’s last name…and they did it in the same paragraph in which they spelled his name correctly:
“Random House is also expected to announce today that Kurt Andersen, the author and the host of â€šÃ„ÃºStudio 360,â€šÃ„Ã¹ has been named editor at large, where he will suggest new nonfiction books. Last week, Random House, which published Mr. Andersonâ€šÃ„Ã´s best-selling novel, ‘Heyday,’ announced a two-book deal with him.”
March 12th, 2007 → 10:59 am @ Seth Mnookin
I’ve been accused of being obsessed with the inability of the Times to spell Kurt Andersen’s name correctly. (They’ve gotten it wrong repeatedly in the last several months, most recently last Tuesday. The paper did seem to spell ‘Andersen’ correctly in this Sunday’s Book Review. If I ever get a front-page review like that, I don’t care if they spell my last name Mynukan.)
Andersen’s isn’t the only “en” name the paper repeatedly fucks up. Today’s paper contains a correction about the misspelling of Theodore C. Sorensen’s name — and considering that Sorensen, as one of Kennedy’s top advisers, is even better known than the founder of Spy, that’s even more embarrassing. But it gets worse: the correction isn’t just for a single story: the Times Sorensoned him on February 22 and again this past Saturday. (According to a Nexis search, the paper has made the same mistake at least 45 times since 1970; the actual number may be greater than that.)
I’ve been using computers since I was 12, when I plugged the old Timex Sinclair 1000 into a black-and-white TV. At the time, I even knew how to program in Basic. So it’s very possible that my vast computer experience is greater than the collective experience at the Times, and maybe that explains how I’ve been able to add proper names into my spellcheck to make sure, for example, that I don’t misspell Andruw Jones as Andrew Jones. Still, I need to assume that the newspaper that defines itself — and rightly so — as one of the premier news-gathering organizations in the world can somehow figure out how to write some code into their internal system to ensure they don’t repeatedly misspell proper names that appear in their pages with some regularity. But maybe I’m being overly optimistic.
March 6th, 2007 → 11:17 am @ Seth Mnookin
Last week I was talking with some media reporters, reminiscing about the days when I had to pay attention to which mid-level editors were moving to which magazines. Conversation turned, as it often does when I’m talking to non-civilians whom I don’t really know, to the Times and my little-read (but well received!) book, Hard News, and I said how incredibly happy I was that I no longer had to read the paper as a critic but could just enjoy it as my breakfast table companion. And in that capacity, I think it’s pretty fucking great — the front page is livelier and more engaging than it’s been in years; the arts and business sections are both erudite and interesting even to those not obsessed with the minutia of those industries; etc.
All of which is true. But man, can they be sloppy. Either that or they’re absolutely obsessed with misspelling Kurt Andersen’s name, which they seemingly do every single time they write about the man. The latest example is yesterday’s review of Heyday, Andersen’s new book (which, biased or not, I think is pretty amazing). They seem to get his name write in the text of the piece, but, at least online, misspell it twice as “Anderson” — in the caption and the info box.
If this is meant as a sly shout-out to me from those Times copy editors who secretly love my work, well, I’m touched! But for some odd reason, I doubt that. And in that case, as Gob would say…c’mon!
December 4th, 2006 → 6:36 pm @ Seth Mnookin
…but only with joy at the realization that I no longer need to be the guy who points out every time the Times misspells Kurt Andersen’s name — now other people will do it for me while acknowledging me in the process!
September 17th, 2006 → 10:39 am @ Seth Mnookin
It’s been twenty years since Kurt Andersen and Graydon Carter founded the late, great Spy magazine, and since then, it’s not as if Andersen’s been a shrinking violet. He was the editor in chief of New York. He co-founded Inside.com. He’s been a columnist for Time and The New Yorker.
And he’s currently a columnist for New York, hosts “Studio 360” for Public Radio International, and has a novel coming out inthe spring.
You’d think that, with this resume, there’d be someone at the Times — if not the writer, then a story editor, and if not a story editor, a copy editor — who knows that Andersen doesn’t spell his name with an ‘o,’ as in ‘Anderson.’ And yet in a story in today’s Style section about the just-launched Good magazine,” there’s this quote:
â€šÃ„ÃºI was really surprised at how much I wanted to read it, and how good it looked on a first glance of a first issue,â€šÃ„Ã¹ said Kurt Anderson, a former editor and founder of magazines, including Spy and Inside.Com. â€šÃ„ÃºFirst issues arenâ€šÃ„Ã´t necessarily great, but I was impressed by how it looked, the writers they got to write. Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s an interesting idea. Lord knows if they can make a go of it commercially.â€šÃ„Ã¹
A quick online search shows the Times has made this mistake at least eight times since Andersen founded Spy. Still, he shouldn’t feel too badly: as recently April, the Times was still getting the name of the paper’s founding family, the Ochs-Sulzbergers, wrong. And they’ve only owned the paper for 110 years.