Sunday, July 01, 2007

Another Edition of Things That Make You Go AAAAAAAAAUUUGGGGHHHH!

The Sunday News-Leader has a story about Reeds Spring biology teacher Mike Collins returning to his classroom. Toward the end is a discussion of an incident in 2005 when Collins admitted to forging a parental permission slip for one of his students.

Collins spoke to the News-Leader in March about the forgery. He acknowledged doing it, but said about 15 minutes after he turned the forgery in, he reminded it and confessed.
"He reminded it?" I know we live in the Ozarks and people don't always use proper English, but this was not a direct quote. Rather, the reporter wrote this phrasing and a copy editor approved it. According to my dictionary reminded means "To cause to remember; put in mind." So the above sentence says Collins caused the permission slip to remember, or Collins put the permission slip in mind. That latter one sort of fits, if a few extra words had been included in the reporter's sentence.

However, I don't think that's what the reporter meant at all. I'm betting the word the reporter meant to use was "remanded" which my dictionary defines as "To send or order back." In other words, Collins ordered the forged permission slip back, and cofessed to having forged it.

Simple typo? Maybe.

The more egregious error is contained in a graphic linked to the story, and reported in a side-bar story about the joint statement issued by three school board members who voted against reinstating Collins. The graphic is of the scanned statement with signatures of the three board members. It includes contact information, listing the phone number of board member Hank Smythe, followed by "not for publication" enclosed in parentheses. Smythe obviously did not want his phone number published. The News-Leader ignored that request. Why?

Smythe's phone number could have been blacked out, leaving his name and the parenthetical request. No reasonable reader would have wondered what had been blacked out and accused the News-Leader of hiding something.

I wonder, will the reporter and/or editor will apologize to Smythe?