Typos are the hilarious bane of newspapers


One of the horrors of newspapering are the typographical errors or “typos” as we label them. They are also known as goof-ups or screw-ups in news stories and headlines. Stuff happens when a newsroom gets in a hurry as a deadline approaches. The Sumter Item [nor ClayToday] has not been immune to typos over the years. My all-time favorite occurred many years ago when our late, great news editor Frances “Pinky” Haynsworth Hildebrand Howell wrote this howler of a headline about an event at Shaw Air Force Base: “Shaw airmen to display their tools at open house.”

That's known as a Freudian slip. Newspapers throughout the land have contributed their fair share of foul-ups and I have made a point to collect them over the years. Here’s a sampling of some stories: “Our church group is going to have a party and each girl is supposed to incite a boy.”

“An 89-year-old man, who asked that he not be identified by the paper, said he had loved in the neighborhood all his life.”

A Virginia newspaper had this gem in a legislative story: “The bill would allow them to trim their budget where they can, then borrow what they need to fake up the difference.”

Political stories always make for good fun: “The president popped in between the creeps and the fruit to joke with the guests.”

Or this one: “The touring vice president represented President Nixon at the glittering deception given for 300 diplomats, wives and officials.”

Imagine the consternation of a Texas lady when the local paper reported that she was “presented a silver bowel by the local club as an expression of their appreciation for her services.”

In Connecticut, a homemaker was quoted in the local paper as saying “A well-stocked panty is a necessity for a country home.”

Local Rotarians may get a laugh from this one when a New Jersey Rotary Club was reported as having “distributed many amusing girls as mementos of the occasion.”

That’s just a sampling of the fun newspapers can bring to its readers - unintentionally of course.

And finally, one newspaper reported that a club’s committee chairman was given a standing ovulation after closing her presentation.

As I’ve said many times in my columns, I’m not making this stuff up.

Enjoy your summer.

Hubert D. Osteen Jr. is chairman of the board of directors of Osteen Publishing Company, parent of Clay Today.


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