Slate article about 'Girls' 'misspelled basically everyone's name'

Slate |

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

  • Mallary Jean Tenore

    As managing editor of The Poynter Institute’s website,, I report on the media news industry, edit the site’s How To section, and moderate the site's live chats. I also help handle the site's social media efforts, and teach social media sessions on the side.


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