USA Today Got a Copyeditor

In digital media, embarrassed writers/news sources have the ability to quickly recover from their mistakes (as opposed to in book publishing, where you’re waiting for the next print run). This is the story in today’s copyediting—and mathematical, for those of you who do not prefer words—faux pas.

My father, a very alert reader who rarely needs a copyeditor, sent me on Monday a link to a USA Today story detailing Sunday night’s late-breaking loss of the Patriots to the Colts.  He included the following excerpt:

The Patriots (6-3) flew home after a numbing defeat that was summed up in three words by quarterback Tom Brady.

BOX SCORE: Colts 35, Patriots 34

“It was a bummer,” said Brady, who threw for 375 yards and three touchdowns.

It will not surprise you that my father, who works in finance and also was very helpful with my childhood math homework, quickly noticed that the number of words used by Tom Brady in this sentence was in fact: four.

I was floored by this email but didn’t get a chance to publish it until today… and when I clicked on the link to the full article, discovered that the offending text has since been amended:

The Patriots (6-3) flew home after a numbing defeat that was summed up by quarterback Tom Brady.

BOX SCORE: Colts 35, Patriots 34

“It was a bummer,” said Brady, who threw for 375 yards and three touchdowns.

There you have it, folks: revisionist history.

And for those who know this quote, this reminds me of: “Two words, Charlie: THERAPY.”

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1 Comment

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One response to “USA Today Got a Copyeditor

  1. dad

    I am humbled to be potrayed in such a postive light, but will point out that Meg did not get her skills in writing or copy editing from me!
    Interesting note: Fox News in under fire again for airing some footage not at all aligned with the host’s description. Apparently they did have a copy editor who altered the copy but forgot to alert the folks in the video room. At least that’s Fox News position when confronted!

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