Moncton Needs a Newswiki

I’m sure there will be a million comments telling me that there already are such things.  Bear with me. 

I have written before about the ludicrous amount of errors in the Moncton Times & Transcript  local paper.  I have seen malapropisms, poor grammar, misspelled words, even misspelled words in headlines.  But the good ol’ T&T  reached a new low today: an error in a headline ON THE FRONT PAGE.

I haven’t got my trusty scanner at the office I’m at now, but that’s OK, because they have dutifully reproduced the error on their Web site  (shown – click to enlarge and see the headline at the bottom of the page).  If you want to read the article, here is the link to, “Retails growth in Metro tops in Atlantic Canada.”

Do you suppose they meant “Retail’s” – i.e. the growth that belongs to Retail is tops?  That feels awkward, but would make sense.  And apostrophe errors seem to be the most popular kind of mistake these days, even by educated people, so that’s likely what the writer meant.  “Retail growth” sounds more comfortable to my ear, but I’m on shaky grammatical ground there – that structure works in some places (e.g. “population growth”), but would sound silly in others (e.g. “street growth”).

Regardless, it’s clearly wrong the way it is, and hasn’t even been fixed in the medium that is perfect for instantly correcting errors.  In The Long Tail, Chris Anderson writes about the democratization of the tools of information production, and uses Wikipedia as an example.  Thanks to the wisdom of crowds, it’s almost as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica, but contains content about many, many times more topics.  And, the moment an error is discovered, by anybody, it’s corrected.  Britannica  has to wait for their next printing.  And there are no “wrong” versions of Wikipedia hanging around, whereas inaccurate leather-bound encyclopedia tomes are extant everywhere.  My daughter could open the “P” volume of last year’s Britannica, and learn from a highly authoritative source that Pluto is the ninth planet in our Solar System.  Wikipedia tells her the more current version of the facts.

The Times & Transcript  could easily make a change to the article on their site.  Do they not know the mistake is there, or do they just not care?

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3 Responses to “Moncton Needs a Newswiki”

  1. Rich Says:

    Oh man… don’t get me started on that. You bring up an excellent point that’s been a peeve of mine for years. I’m totally with ya.

    Another favourite of mine is confusing and incorrect use of tense (actual T&T headline this week):

    “Unsettled weather moves in next week”

    Here’s another one from this week that I thought was great: “Greek man beheads girlfriend, shot five times by police”

    Also, on a related note, another T&T headline gripe of mine is their overuse of “shocking statements as questions”.

    DEADLY VIRUS TO WIPE OUT ENTIRE POPULATION OF MONCTON?

    or…

    SAYING ANYTHING REMOTELY POSITIVE ABOUT HALIFAX THE CAUSE OF UNCERTAIN DEATH?

    Having said all this, and despite the many other gripes I have with that paper as a whole, I can never bring myself to cancel my subscription. What is with that?

    (Apologies, I think I’ve gone off the original topic of your post and on to a bit of a rant.)

  2. sbroox Says:

    And how about devoting so much space to a single “story.”

    An upcoming front page article should be:

    Uninterrupted Coverage of the Eagles Concert by T&T Now in its 107th Consecutive Day!

  3. Where’s My $#!*ing Paper? « About Bars & Marketing - by Stephen Brooks Says:

    […] when it comes to the Moncton daily Times&Transcript.  I have chastised them in the past for spelling errors, not knowing the definition of words, even mistakes in front-page headlines.  So it’s […]


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