We don’t always find an ounce of prevention

On The Way
By Olivia Fowler

Thanks go to Tom Smith of Six Mile for finding a mistake in last week’s column. I wrote that both Mark and Jenny Sanford are interested in running for Jim DeMint’s seat in 2014. This is incorrect.

At this time, the Sanfords are considering running for the 1st congressional seat being vacated by Tim Scott, who has been appointed to fill DeMint’s vacated seat. Other possible candidates are one of former governor Carroll Campbell’s sons and Ted Turner’s son.
I apologize for the error and must warn my readers that this is not my first mistake, nor will it be my last.

Since 1986, when I was a rookie reporter for the Clemson Messenger, I have made a number of other mistakes.

Possibly the most serious was the case of the moving decimal point which occurred in a new story about rising water rates. One typo moved the decimal point one space to the right, turning a 10 percent increase into a 100 percent increase. This mistake wasn’t caught and managed to upset more than a few readers.

There have been other errors. Sometimes the people in a photograph have been identified out of order. I’ve done this at least once.
My top-of-the-line most gloriously unfixable mistake occurred many years ago.

At that time, in order to establish the amount of space needed on the page I would finish a story and put generic filler cutlines beneath the pictures that were to support the story. Before we went to press, I’d go back in and write the finished cutline. This method worked well for a number of years.

Until the 14-hour day when I forgot to go back in and replace the cutline.

That’s how a story about the county’s new program of shredding and recycling old tires ran with a cutline saying, “There are a number of uses for shredded tires, including lining septic tanks and etc. etc. blah blah blah.”

Reading this in black and white was not a pleasant experience, nor was calling the man interviewed for the story and apologizing. He hadn’t noticed it until it was brought to his attention, but was very gracious.

These are the mistakes of which I’m aware. There are probably others I know nothing about. Yet.

Getting the facts wrong is the worst offense. Next would be incomplete reporting, offering only one view or distorting information. Slanting a story is a serious offense and perhaps the most reprehensible.

There are a few words I’ll never spell correctly. And punctuation is sometimes used incorrectly and sometimes not at all.

So, please forgive my mistakes. They are never intentional. And if you catch one don’t hesitate to call the paper and let us know.