Saturday, May 05, 2012

Rookie mistakes are not limited to rookies

MILLPORT, New York, USA - The assignment was one I had done hundreds of times: go out, take notes, shoot a few photos and write the whole thing up by deadline for a daily newspaper. In this case it was the Elmira Star-Gazette of (of course), Elmira, New York.

So today's walk-in-the-park assignment seemed just like that.

There were chatty Boy Scouts and leaders, an even chattier park employe and the coordinator of the event - a devotee of the hiking trail being cleaned by volunteers - was a reporter's dream, full of information, quotes and background.

Here's a link to the story: Catharine Valley Trail/Elmira Star Gazette

The rookie mistake? A spelling error in the story I turned in to the editor.

The name of the trail being cleaned is the Catharine Valley Trail. No big deal, except that in my life, one of my favorite aunts was named Catherine. Catherine with an E, not an A. Added to that was my spellcheck program defaulted to the spelling with the E. And even when I went to change it later - when the error of my ways had been pointed out by my editor at the newspaper - the damned name kept coming up spelled incorrectly, for the story anyway.

Lesson learned: Read signs more carefully, doublecheck all spellings, then check a couple of more times before you turn it in.

Sounds just like what I taught my undergraduates at CSU, Sacramento and CSU, Chico for nearly 30 years.


Montour Boy Scouts cleaning the Catharine Valley Trail, Catharine with an A, thank you...