Thursday, March 08, 2001

An Unforced Error

Carets and Sticks is not intended as a forum for pouncing on the missteps of other editors, but just as I couldn't let "hi-tech" or "T-ball" go without comment, I must comment on the mention of tennis legend "Jimmy Conners" on the front page of the March 7 Wall Street Journal (another of my favorite publications). As a tennis fanatic, I'm especially sensitive to the misidentification of such a major name. In fact, my wife spotted this error; when I should have been reading the day's papers I was off playing tennis. The amazing thing about the "Conners" error is that, unlike Barbra Streisand and Nicolas Cage and Courteney Cox Arquette and countless other celebrities, Jimmy Connors spells his name the normal way. There are Connerses out there, I'm sure, but I can't remember ever hearing of one. My guess is that a non-tennis-fan copy editor assumed that a reporter writing about tennis couldn't possibly flub one of the biggest names in tennis history. We copy editors make these kinds of judgments when we're short on time, which we almost always are. Note to writers: The copy desk is just the backstop. You're still expected to get things right in the first place.

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