Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cecile's Corrections

Being a journalist seems to be easy - faced with a blank page they can simply continue their vendetta against Liverpool fans (the Sun), Michael Barrymore (the Sun), foreigners (the Mail), or write a five-star review of an Apple product (the Guardian).

But I'm assured that it's hard. Journalists tell me that there is a lot of pressure, tight deadlines, angry editors, and eagle-eyed readers who pounce on your every mistake.

And when you make a mistake, the newspaper is obliged to print a correction, the adult equivalent of being told to redo your homework.

In 2011/12, The New Zealand News (New Zealand's most respected broadsheet, circulation 5,000) published an average of 12 corrections per week - very low and a source of legitimate pride. This number has risen sharply, for a month ago, the NZN began printing articles written by a middle-aged French journalism student. Now, corrections to her articles are coming thick and fast, and the paper's "Oopsie!" section has gained a cult following.

Here is a choice selection:

Jan 9th

In yesterday's opinion piece "Action Movies Have Too Much Action," we erroneously called The Incredible Hulk's alter-ego Bruce Wayne. We are happy to clarify that Hulk is David Banner. However, we stand by the author's right to hold the opinion that 'Captain America is too American.'

Jan 12th

In yesterday's Culture section, we attributed the story 'The Tortoise and the Hare' to the French writer La Fontaine. It was, as many readers have pointed out, written by Aesop, some two thousand years before the creation of France. We regret the error.

Jan 14th

In Sunday's 'Cecile Tells Jokes' section, one of the punchlines was wrong. The correct reply to 'What does a Swedish Fred Flintstone say?' is not 'yabba-dabba-do', but 'Abba-dabba-do'.

also Jan 14th

In yesterday's sports article 'Some People Go Swimming; One is Fastest' - for 'aggressivity' read 'aggression', for 'sixteen years old girl' read 'sixteen year old girl', for 'this' read 'that, for 'that' read 'this'. Sorry.

Jan 17th

In yesterday's article 'Homes of the Gnomes', in which a French woman visits locations from Lord of the Rings, there were several mistakes. First, the Dark Lord Sauron is not a metaphor for J.R.R. Tolkein's conjunctivitis. Nor was The Hobbit based on a French fairy tale. Finally, a hobbit is not a kind of 'hairy gnome'. We apologise to all LOTR fans and ask that you stop hacking our website.

Jan 20th

We regret that yesterday's match report about the All-Blacks versus Scotland contained numerous errors. First, Dan Carter does not, and never has, led a team of hackers. Second, one team being bigger, faster, and better at rugby is not 'patently unfair'. Third, it is not the opinion of The News that the scrum, an integral part of rugby since its inception, is 'silly and boring.' Finally, the writer's confusion about the word 'try' led her to discount some points from the score, which she reported as 9-3. The actual result was 51-22. Soz.



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