by Dean Hybl
Remember when you had little reason to question that all the information you read in the newspaper was, at the very least, factual? Well, unfortunately, those days seem to be gone. With newspapers reducing staff as a response to financial pressures it appears that a major sacrifice has been in ensuring accuracy.
One of many good examples of this occurred in the July 16 Orlando Sentinel, which included a column titled the “Health Report” for the UCF athletic department. The article contained several factual errors, including missing by six years the date when UCF moved from Division II to Division I athletics and identifying an all-conference softball player as playing the wrong position. Minor errors like those might not seem to be a big deal, but if a writer is trying to sell him or herself as someone with a credible opinion, then they cannot include errors that lead a reader to question their core knowledge of the subject.
There was a time in the not-so-distant past when a copy editor would have been expected to catch those kinds of factual errors, but unfortunately, staff reductions appear to have compromised such time-honored journalistic practices as “proofreading.” Good thing we all have automatic spell checking on our computer or our newspapers might be filled not only with factual errors, but with speling errors. Oh heck, who turned off my spell checker?
Check back soon for another example of how journalism isn’t what it used to be.