How the Toronto Star's Crappy Typo Made it to Print

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How the Toronto Star’s Crappy Typo Made it to Print

They just hit the wrong key.

It happens.

When the Toronto Star published a sub-heading to the January 3 article “Where You From,” it read, “An event for the offspring of mixed-race families shits a chord as the difficult to ‘identify’ find their people.”

It whats a chord? Oh no.

As funny as the typo is, it’s also very easy to make this kind of mistake—other local publications, as we detailed on Tuesday—have made their own gaffes.

As the Star’s Public Editor Kathy English writes, there’s an understandable explanation for the error: the handling editor was having trouble with his keyboard, tried to save the page (ctrl + s is very handy, and you should use it often), and accidentally added the “s” where his cursor was. Presumably everything in the paper had already been put to bed, and there was no reason to copy edit it again. And so “hits a chord” became “shits a chord.”

Mistakes are never good, and we all make them. But daily newspapers in 2017 are still precious when it comes to publishing any kind of vulgarity (even when it might be germane to the story). Any journalist who cares about his or her job is mortified by an error, but this one probably feels worse.

These facepalm errors are not limited to the Star, though. Yahoo Finance had their own terrible tweet yesterday, with a typo on the word “bigger.” The Washington Post’s magazine Express featured a cover story about a march in support of women’s rights with a massive male gender symbol. This was not intentional.

With social media it’s easier to see these errors today. But as journalist Al Donato observes on Twitter, there are other forces at play, too.

The volume of content produced by journalists has never been higher, even as there are massive staffing cutbacks. Doing more with less means errors can happen with greater frequency. With fewer checks on each stage of the process, more glaring errors can get published too.

That’s not good for readers, and it’s especially bad for overworked journalists who know that the exact same thing could happen to them. It’s a reason why, across the journalism industry, these mistakes hit a chord.

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