F-word makes print!

Dateline: Fri 02 Dec 2011

The insertion of the "f-word" in an Associated Press story published by a Gannett newspaper in Greenville, S.C., may well be the result of outsourcing, which is going on at the Greenville News (copy desk is in Louisville, Ky.!)

But such "slips" are nothing new.

In this instance, the offending word appears as the third paragraph in a sports story. Jim Romensko, Huff Post and other blogs wrote about it. Here's Romenesko:


In my experience, it was typically the printers who tooled with copy...long before there was outsourcing, printers were often angry as a union and as individuals over various grievances. Or maybe they just liked to f with all those stuffy white collar guys in the newsroom, including the rich publishers.

Thus at the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, a "shirt sale" in ad copy was more than once turned into a shit sale; likewise the newspaper was occasionally identified in its folio as the Fart Wayne Journal Gazette.

My personal favorite was at the Indianapolis Star in the late 1970s, early 80s, when Mamie Eisenhower's obit showed up in cold type (and before making into the print edition) with the insertion: "Myrta Pulliam sucks dick."

Myrta was at the time employed in the newsroom as an editor of sorts; she was also the indulged daughter of the publisher Gene Pulliam.

Several copy editors were called onto the carpet of exec editor Larry "Bo" Connor and grilled about the comment. Every single one denied having anything to do with it. Nobody confessed, and  nobody was fired.

My money was always on the printers, who did not suffer fools gladly.

Other goofy missteps: Honeymooners enjoy French Lick and WOMAN a furry meal (a story in the Evansville Press about serving venison and other game). You can read plenty more on Romenesko's site in comments.




Joe Stuteville [unverified] said:

Eons ago, while working as a news editor/reporter for the Mount Vernon (Ind.) Democrat, I wrote a story about an accident involving a pick-up truck and a horse. My cut line read:
Posey County sheriff's deputies reported the animal's injuries were so severe they were forced to put the whore down at the scene.

2011-12-02 07:19:54

ruthholl [Member] said:

Ho ho whore ho ho ho....this is far better than the cutline from the Bloomington Courier Tribune, showing a bunch of dead bugs on display at the local library, part of some kid's science project: "Insects on parade."
Or the photo op a shooter at the Courier Tribune set up -- a Monroe County's son/loved one had been killed in Vietnam in combat. The paper went to the grief-stricken family's home to do a story. The shooter posed the family around the empty mailbox. The cutline read, "No more mail."
Jesus Christ!

2011-12-02 08:56:02

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

On a newspaper where I once worked, a woman wrote a Letter to the Editor campaigning for more funding for the Indiana School for the Deaf.

Her spelling as submitted was accurate. But when it was published, a composing room typist had inadvertantly changed it to The Indiana School for the Dead.

2011-12-02 11:09:26

Seneca [Member] said:

In another life (long, long ago) I was a "composing room typist," aka Linotype operator.

The line went "the team was outshot by . . ."

Somehow, the "o" came out as an "i."

The publisher was kind. I didn't lose my job.

2011-12-02 13:01:38

Seneca [Member] said:

btw, W'beard, who changed the second "e" in "inadvertently" to an "a" [inadvertantly]? Was it you?

Your humble "compsoing room typist."

2011-12-02 13:06:01

Seneca [Member] said:


"composing room . . ."


2011-12-02 13:07:10

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Seneca, you got me (re: inadvertently). Wish they had spell-check on these blogs. I didn't mean to diss the composing room typist. She and I were good friends.

Since I'm about three-quarters dead at the present moment and coming to terms with last week's frightening and most recent medical test results, I don't have much energy these days for pulling out a dictionary (barely have the strength to type much at all). So warning: more grammatical errors are likely to come as long as I'm still kickin'.

I like to comment on this blog for a variety of reasons, one of which it helps me keep my mind off my present scary circumstances. Hope I don't bore people to tears.

Forever grateful to you, Ruth.

2011-12-02 15:35:36

farm girl [unverified] said:

Several centuries ago, when I was young and new on the Star copydesk, every blooper got blamed on me. I really only did one--count them, one. It was a movie story that Audrey Hepburn had been first choice to play the lead in the long-forgotten musical "Fanny" but her contract would not allow it...you guessed it, my hed said "Audrey loses Fanny due to contract"...

2011-12-02 16:19:19

ruthholl [Member] said:

All good.
Whitebeard, I am sorry to hear of your health problems. I hope you get a reversal of fortunes. Take care, man.

2011-12-02 17:06:04

howard smulevitz [unverified] said:

Lynn, should you have gotten a $2 bill for that hed!

2011-12-02 19:18:19

JohnHoward [unverified] said:

I still have a Central Hardware ad that I clipped from The News, touting "Turf Builder Plus 2 Cleans out dandelions. Gives full feeding of turd."

2011-12-02 21:16:45

Seneca [Member] said:

All the best, Whitebeard.

2011-12-03 06:33:46

Len Puddock, author of a worst-selling book [unverified] said:

Many moons ago at The Star Bud Speake when Sunday Editor before his Telegraph Editor days lined his desktop with newspaper goofs of all kinds. One was an 8-column banner from the Times that stated:
Man Sucked Off On Plane.

2011-12-03 09:06:04

farm girl [unverified] said:

It also occurred to me that with today's printing (computer) methods, any and everyone should have seen that F word. (If they wanted to.) In the old hot metal days, when the type was upside down and backwards, it took some skill to read it, so the Myrta-type slip-ups were easier to get by with....

2011-12-03 11:35:20

ComputerWheels [Member] said:

Used to work for the Gary (now Merrillville) Post-Tribune when it was still in Gary. A memorable published picture was of the local old ladies lined up at a table for a social tea. The cutline said something like "The girls on Adams Street are out strutting their stuff again." Adams Street, of course was the red-light district.

2011-12-03 15:30:15

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Ruth, this goes back 37 years ago to my newspaper days in your former residence of Greencastle when I used to do an exciting weekly feature entitled "Pest of the Week" (insects that troubled the area's farmers).

A coach at DePauw U. had to have emergency surgery for a non-life-threatening surgery. His last name was Cotton.

The one-line headline in the Banner-Graphic:

"Cotton Cut"

2011-12-03 16:46:57

Batterup [unverified] said:

Speaking of embarrassing typos:

Eons ago I worked for a daily newspaper in West Central Indiana. A local car dealer had a slogan boasting low prices. Unfortunately, in an ad in big letters the slogan read: "We will compare PRICS with anyone!"

2011-12-04 13:13:54

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