As a journalist, I was always taught to double-check spelling, attribution and grammar before ever submitting anything to an editor for publication. One would think that the general rule is applicable to all journalists at all media outlets, yet in a blog post done by Washington D.C.’s Politico, an editor clearly did not check spelling or grammar before posting.
In a blog written by senior political writer, Maggie Haberman, about Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen’s comments on Ann Romney’s choice of being a stay at home mother who “never really dealt with the kind of economic issues that a majority of women in the country are facing,” Haberman was clearly more concerned with getting the story published rather than being accurate in her copy. Bolded below are three spelling mistakes and one grammatical error she made, all in the same graph about Ann Romney’s response to Rosen’s remarks:
She added, “Mitt reespects women that makes those different choices…Hilary needs to knwo this because I’ve been on the campaign trail for one year and guess what women are talking about….they’re talking about jobs and they’ree talking about the legacy of debt that we’re leaving our children.”
From the spelling errors to the incorrect number of dots in her ellipsis, Haberman made the mistake that all journalists encounter at one point or another. Whether she was in a rush to publish or whether a copy editor overlooked the article, there is no excuse for simple spelling errors. Not only does this discredit the Politico organization, but the embarrassing mistake comes from a senior political writer, someone who should know by now the very basic fundamentals of accurate writing.
The article contains more spelling mistakes and continues to get more embarrassing on Politico’s behalf. Bolded below are one spelling mistake and a grammar mistake. Again, Haberman misspells ”women” and again, includes too many ellipses with no spacing before or after her ellipses.
When asked point blank about the suggestion that she couldn’t relate to the struggles of working women, or working class woen, she said, “Look, I know what it’s like to struggle and if maybe I haven’t struggled as much financially as much as some people have, I can tell you and promise you that I’ve had struggles in my life….Mitt and I have compassion for people that are struggling and that’s why we’re running. We care about people that are struggling .”
Sadly enough, more grammar mistakes are seen in the closing graph. Not only does Haberman not capitalize the name of Mitt Romney at first mention, but she misses a comma after “me” at the end of Ann Romney’s quote.
“You should see how many women he listens to and that’s what I love about mitt. He has so many women in his circle. … Mitt Romney is a person that admires women and listens to them and I am grateful that he listens to me” as she talks about what women care about.
Despite that the post is a blog, the blog is featured on Politico’s website where millions of people can access and read what’s being posted. For a senior political writer whose resume includes work at the New York Post and the New York Daily News, such simple mistakes should not have been made. Of course, now the mistakes have been corrected and there is no mistakes. However, such simple grammar and spelling errors should have never been made, especially from a political senior writer.
In order to ensure high standards of accuracy across all platforms, news organizations need to and must send copy through some sort of feeder system that checks for mistakes. Whether this means investing in new technology or perhaps bringing on another copy editor, simple mistakes such as Haberman’s should never be made. The standards for print journalism and the standards for online journalism should remain equal, despite the different platforms.
There is no reason why online journalism can be sloppy, even in a blog, and print cannot. Both print and online journalism should reflect the highest accuracy of journalism and writers must continue to strive for accuracy and attention to spelling and grammar, even in the digital era.