Want to win cash just by reading The Paper?
Monday, April 21, 2014 10:00 PM
I've spent most of my adult life working in newspapers. Actually, that may not be completely accurate. My wife of thirtysomething years might argue that I haven't quite reached the "adult" part yet. She's probably wondering if that's ever going to happen.
Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Tuesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sorry, I digress. During the working part of those three-plus decades, I've heard every joke there is about newspapers - many of which had a kernel or three of truth to them. What's the difference between a publisher and a sack of fertilizer - the sack. What's the difference between a publisher and a gorilla - it's been proven that a gorilla knows how to communicate with humans. How long does it take for a publisher to learn how to spell - nobody knows. Yup, heard 'em all.
Fortunately, publishers don't do all that much writing in most newspapers. We leave that to the pros who are reporters, city editors, copy desk rim and slot staff and beyond. The bigger the newspaper, the bigger and more layered the staff. For the most part, those folks do a wonderful job. They take an awful lot of information in a very short period of time and get it on the page and ready for you, dear reader, to read.
Is it perfect? Not always. Is it as good as say . . .the Saturday Evening Post? No, but magazine folks have a month to go over stories and pages. They have a month to proof, copy edit, tweak and make perfect. Newspaper types get maybe six to eight hours.
And, jokes aside, I'm proud to say they mostly get it right.
Uh-oh, I see some of you are shaking your heads right about now. No, no, that Timmons guy is all wet. I see mistakes all the time. Is he crazy? Is he blind? (Again, please don't ask my wife.)
I get that people think that. It's been the perception about newspapers for a long, long time. And we all know the old saying that perception is reality.
So let's find out.
From now until the Indy 500 race - Sunday, May 24 - I'll make you a deal. If you find an error on the news and sports pages of The Paper (not counting the paid advertisements) and are the first one to let me know via e-mail I'll give you one American dollar! Yes sir, free money! All you've got to do is find a goof. Could be a misspelling, a factual error, grammar, AP Style, a left when it should've been a right . . . you get the idea. Be the very first one to send me an e-mail - it's email@example.com - and I'll get you the loot. To clarify, it's got to be an e-mail. Think I want to hear you laugh on the phone or in person? No way. E-mails only, my friends.
You see, I'm betting (U.S. dollars) that we don't make as many errors as is perceived. I'm hoping that by the time Jim Nabors warms up his vocal chords for Back Home Again in Indiana you agree with me. Either way, I guess we're about to find out.
To show I'm a good sport (and to prove to the staff I'm not as big a cheapskate as they think) I'll help get someone off to a good start. There is at least one mistake in my column today. Put in there on purpose just so somebody can get that first dollar. Whoever lets me know the quickest wins the first of what I'm hoping are very few dollars.
OK, last newspaper joke. How do you get a reporter to turn in their story by 4 - tell them the deadline is 2. You, dear reader, have more than a month of deadlines and - I hope - not very many e-mails.