A long, long time ago, I remember a comment that a city-desk editor made when reporters started using the really early laptop computers (photo) to cover live news events. Everyone was excited because this was going to streamline the shipping of stories back to the newsroom, making it possible for reporters to write closer to deadline on breaking stories. That sounded good. This veteran editor scowled a bit, and said something like: "Yeah, it also means people are going to be rushing even more and they'll make more mistakes. Then we have to catch them."
Computers. Can't live with ’em, can't live without ’em.
So I hope that some kind of computer error or rush job is to blame for that horrible mistake in a Time headline atop a story about the Anglican summit in Tanzania. The error was there yesterday and, dang it, it's still there today. It says:
The Episcopals Under Fire Over Gays
The who? As any good editor knows, "Episcopal" is the adjective form of the word and "Episcopalian" is the noun. Over at the national church's press office, the Rev. Jan Nunley is mystified, with good reason.
... (What) a mess! What is going on at TIME? This isn't like David Van Biema at all. In fact, there are signs it was hastily put together, or the lede rewritten by someone not familiar with the story. Here's hoping they'll take the following suggestions for improvement.
First of all, who are "The Episcopals"!? We've been calling ourselves Episcopalians since 1784. You'd think the headline writers would catch on by now.
She's right and she has some other complaints, too.
Now, Van Bierma is a pro. I bet you that this story got handled really, really fast in the daily tech-crunch at the online desk. You think?
UPDATE: The headline has been fixed. You non-journalists out there in GetReligion reader-land do realize that reporters very, very rarely have anything to do with writing headlines. Just thought I'd mention that, for educational purposes.