Typos in Articles

Posted by surF on May 7, 2018

The first thing I do in the morning is checking ANSA, which is one of the most important Italian news agencies. What I like about such agency is the format of the news: I think it provides a reasonable amount of information in a decent amount of display space. A good compromise.

However, every morning, I spot typos somewhere in the text. I am shocked about this since, in 2018, it looks a bit strange to me how something can go live on a news website, ranked as the 4th most followed brand in Italy by Reuters, with so many typos.

I should dig further in order to understand how this can possibly happen. I guess there is no revision time since they want the exclusivity of the articles but what happens with the embedded checker? I believe they use an online form to insert posts. As such, I think it is reasonable to guess that their CMS has an internal checker in place since most WYSIWYG editors, also the free ones, have it nowadays. Seeing the amount of publications, I believe there is not a third party reviewing the article if not all the easy-to-spot errors should not appear in the live version. So let’s imagine a typical workflow:

  • the reporter quickly writes the article using his office automation tool.
  • He/She logs in the CMS and copy/pastes it in the form.
  • Push send. Ta-daaan, it’s live.

This would mean that a double check should be in place. Now, if two checks are not enough, is there a way to prevent this from happening again? Should the CMS stop and ask for a review of each error in an aspell fashion? Should it change color of the text or put a big red box behind it? It’s 2018 folks, everyone is talking about AI, robotics and so on but we still have to read bad formatted articles full of bugs. I think this can be easily avoided.

However, do people really care about this problem or it’s just me? Personally, when I see such trivial typos in articles I immediately think the credibility of the whole journal is undermined. But, again, maybe it’s just my way of seeing things.

PS: this article goes through an aspell --lang=en check process before being pushed. If you can still spot mistakes, please excuse me and let me know (after all, I am not a news agency, I should be allowed to make mistakes) :).