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Saturday, January 22, 2022

I get e-mails

every once in a while telling me that a word is misspelled in a

certain story or that a fact is wrong in another story.

And there is no

excuse for errors.

However, I want

to explain the process a story goes through before it is


A story is read

about seven times before it goes to print. It is first read by the

writer and then by the assigning editor. It is fact-checked by a

copy editor and a copy desk chief. The desk chief sends it to the

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production department, where the story is laid out on a page. And

then Lyndsey Lewis and I and another copy editor read the


Even when a

story is read that many times, errors can still get


Our copy editors

try to analyze every detail of a story, details that most people

don't think twice about. They argue among themselves about hyphens

and commas and apostrophes (oh my).

Copy editors are

the safety net of our newspaper. Besides catching

spelling errors and fact errors, they are there to help keep

our newspaper out of legal trouble - constantly on the lookout for

libelous statements.

Copy editors

deserve more credit than they get, and if I were to come up with

the next national holiday, it would be Copy Editors Day.

As much as I

hate making mistakes, I'm convinced people learn better by making


Mistakes are

embarrassing, and no one likes to be embarrassed.

There are

certain mistakes I've made that I remember very well, such as

misspelling the word "illustrative" in a second-grade spelling bee.

Because of that, I only placed third in the spelling bee. But I

haven't misspelled illustrative since then.

As hard as we

work to keep mistakes out of the paper, we are not perfect. And

when we do make mistakes, we regret it.

If you see any

errors in the Alligator, please let us know by sending an e-mail to or

by calling 352-376-4458.

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