The Business of Tpyos

Hope you noticed the typo in the headline. Being a journalism major, typos are one of my favorite things and one of my pet peeves. You'll understand that if you're a "word person." You are gleeful when you find one as you're proofreading (makes you feel worth your salary), but frustrated when you run across one in something you're reading for your own pleasure. You will probably find plenty in this blog if you read it regularly, and I am okay with that. I'm just one person. But if you, like me, hate finding typos in magazines, newspapers and (shudder) books, blame it on business.
In the publishing world, copy editors are not necessarily seen as compulsory employees. In fact, I was once told by a publishing VP that editors and writers were like the lights in the ceiling - just overhead. You can imagine the feelings that generated in the newsroom. And then there was another exec that told me that anyone could write, they just needed a computer and the rest was easy. Sigh.
I admit that some typos are entertaining. One of my all-time favorites was when an writer meant to use the term "chock full of..." and forgot a crucial letter. I also will still snicker like a 10-year-old boy whenever I see the word "public" misspelled.
I've taken to collecting my favorites, including a sign that pleaded with the world to "Avoid Being a Brut." Love that. But I find it less funny to see mistakes in a major magazine or in my favorite book, and it's happening more often.
Back in the salad days of publishing, typos were inexcusable when there were hundreds of editors on staff. Today, we're seeing an increase in errors for a sadder reason. With more and more layoffs in the newsroom, and with more business-side execs believing that editors can be replaced with computers, plan to see more rather than fewer mistakes.
Computers are seen as the panacea. After all, you can use one to check your spelling and your grammar. However, very few computer programs see the mistake when you use "he" rather than "she." Perhaps that's why so many e-books have typos in them. When I first purchased my Nook, I found unbelievable errors and typos in almost every book I purchased for it. Know why? Because the book sellers and publishers wanted to save money by just scanning in printed books and galleys from classic books. They took the easy way out, relying on the computer programs to catch the errors.
So the next time you see a typo, mourn the copywriters who've lost their jobs, rant at the publishing companies that won't hire, tell the computer how stupid it is...and then laugh if it's a "good" one.

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