Slate article about ‘Girls’ ‘misspelled basically everyone’s name’

Slate | Poynter.org
A Slate correction that ran over the weekend is a good reminder to double-check the spelling of names. The correction, at the bottom of a Troy Patterson story about the TV show “Girls”‘ second season, reads:

This review misspelled basically everyone’s name. It’s Hannah Horvath, not Hannah Hovrath; Marnie is played by Allison Williams, not Alison Williams; and Ray is played by Alex Karpovsky, not Zosia Mamet.

News Editor Chad Lorenz, who oversees the site’s corrections, said via email that the person who edited the story “chose to post that piece himself without filing it to the copy desk, so that probably led to more errors than usual.”

Slate doesn’t require all stories to go through the copy desk, Lorenz said: “This was not a breach of protocol at all. In this case, it was in the interest of speed.”

News organizations frequently misspell names, even though it’s an easy mistake to avoid. Lorenz told Poynter last May that the site averaged five or six corrections for misspelled names each month in the first half of 2012. “I think that rate still holds,” Lorenz told Poynter in an email Monday. “Maybe consistently closer to six a month now, I’m afraid.” On several occasions, Lorenz said, Slate misspelled Michele Bachmann’s name and former senator Jon Kyl’s.

The Los Angeles Times has run dozens of corrections after misspelling Elliott Gould’s name, while The New York Times has often misspelled Warren Buffett’s name.

Related: How journalists can avoid misspelling names | Why journalists make mistakes and what we can do about them

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  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    Yes, we all make mistakes, and Poynter.org is no exception. I included that excerpt in another story about corrections (which we linked to in the Slate piece) because I wanted to make that point clear. Good to bring it up again for transparency’s sake.

    ~Mallary Tenore

  • http://www.facebook.com/nataliematthewsramo Natalie Matthews-Ramo

    “Of course, I’ve been guilty of misspelling names, and so has Poynter.org. Of the 60 corrections we’ve run this year, about 16 percent have been for misspelled names.” Quoted from this very website. Kettle meet Pot.

  • raincoaster

    Why does an item on a television show require such speed?

  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.jarboe Mike Jarboe

    Nicely done! I wonder if this reporter is given to sitting around bitching about the copy desk.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jondelfin Jon Delfin

    At least Slate *has* a copy desk. That’s more than can be said of several other websites I read (endure) each day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-Mariani/715649807 Anthony Mariani

    The review/article didn’t misspell anything. The only thing stories can “do” is be read or ignored. The WRITER misspelled the names. Just sayin’.