Print Problems vs Print Perfection: A Note from the Editor

In the wake of the Pleiad’s second print edition of the year, editors unexpectedly stumbled upon a typo printed on the front page. Though disappointment and frustration are a natural reaction, it’s time to move forward and learn from it in a positive way (Photo by Jordan Revenaugh).

If you haven’t noticed a moderately large typo in The Pleiad’s latest print edition, feel free to disregard this article completely. Act like you never saw it. Close your browser. You might miss out on a good, cheesy message, but at least I won’t be making an already obvious error even more obvious than it already is. However, if you have seen it, here is a note about it from me, The Albion Pleiad’s Editor-in-Chief.

On a brisk morning this past Wednesday, I walked over to the KC, excited to start distributing The Pleiad’s second print edition of the year. My excitement soon faded to anxiety, however, when I noticed an error plastered on the front page.

It was the same feeling I had on the morning of my senior prom. I woke up and looked in the mirror, only to find a giant, red zit right smack in the middle of my face. The peace that had been blanketed around me when I woke up turned hard and shattered when I saw that third eye staring back at me. I did, however, at least have the ability to cover that monster up with some concealer and call it a day.

This issue on the most recent print edition, in my eyes (all three of them) is far worse than a zit: It’s a typo, something much harder to conceal, unless I were to go through each of the thousand copies and use whiteout to erase the error. That, though, I’m pretty sure comes with its own set of ethical issues. It’s one of those scenarios where trying to fix one problem just creates another, much larger one.

This wasn’t my first time dealing with a pretty major typo. Last year, I turned in my psychology research paper, the one I’d spent months working on, only to realize that I’d forgotten to change the title from my draft. I was convinced that paper, the symbol of my stress, sweat and tears all semester long, was doomed, all because I turned it in with the title, “Insert Clever Title Here.” 

What was the actual outcome, though? My professor didn’t care. He thought it was funny, and he told me to change it. It was that simple.

Because sometimes, life is just that simple. We make it out to be so much more complicated than it actually is. Something small happens, like a zit, a typo in the print edition or an unedited project title, and we think the world is ending. We catastrophize. We think nothing could possibly be worse. We think the world will laugh at us in the midst of our pain. 

Can the world really laugh at you, though, if you’re laughing too? At that point, aren’t they just laughing alongside you?

An error like this wasn’t easy to brush off. That’s not what I’m saying. After weeks of hard work, I, along with the rest of the Pleiad Staff, wanted this print edition to be nothing short of perfect. We wanted it to be the best it could be. But the thing is, even with that typo, maybe it still is.

Nothing is perfect, a theme you’ve heard from me before. Nobody’s perfect either, something Hannah Montana told all of us when we were children.

Don’t ask me how I, among our other editors, missed something as large as this in the editing process. Oftentimes, it’s the largest errors we don’t see. Our brains skim over them. I might be a psychology major, but I have no idea why that happens. All I know is that it does. 

Typos in headlines seem to happen more frequently than any other typos, and of course headlines are the biggest, boldest letters on a newspaper. They’re the attention-grabbing points, the things that entice you to pick up a paper. Yet they’re littered with errors and issues that are hard for readers to overlook but easy for editors to miss in the editing process.

When I initially started writing this, I had a much different mindset about how this article was going to end. It had some dramatic apology full of self-deprecating notes about how this error was all my fault. I was thinking to myself that I need to step it up, do a better job and work harder.

Then, I realized that, for as much as this typo (for lack of a better word) sucks, it’s a little funny. And it didn’t sneak in there because I wasn’t doing my job. I work really hard at what I do. I strive for perfection, but I don’t have the goal of ever attaining it because that’s unrealistic. Nonetheless, I’m a hard worker. A typo doesn’t mean I slipped up or need to dedicate myself to my work more than I already do. All it means is that I’m human, and I’m subject to making mistakes just like the rest of us.

Mistakes are the foundation of life. Slipping up is the last thing anyone wants to do, but it’s inevitable. We can’t learn if we don’t mess up.

So, rather than wasting my time worrying about this one small, laughable error that I can’t change, I’m just going to use it as something to learn from. Sure, I’ll proofread better next time. But more than that, God forbid another typo happens, I’m going to keep in mind that it’s not the end of the world. It’s not the end of Albion, or even the end of The Pleiad. It’s not the end of anything. It’s the beginning of the next phase, the next lesson to learn.

It’s as simple as that.

About Jordan Revenaugh 43 Articles
Jordan Revenaugh is a junior from Rochester, Michigan. An aspiring journalist and author, she is a double major in psychology and English with a creative writing concentration. In addition to being Editor-in-Chief of the Pleiad, Jordan runs cross country and track, is a part of Delta Gamma and InterVarsity, and is a dedicated avocado enthusiast.

2 Comments

  1. Jordan,
    I enjoyed your article. I sympathize. And empathize. I made a headline mistake far worse (in my mind) in The Pleiad 35 years ago. I spelled the last name of the Dean of Academics wrong. He’d been named the president of a college, a big day for him. On deadline, bleary-eyed, doing paste-up at the Albion Recorder, I transposed two letters in his name as press time approached. The next morning I looked at the paper and had my first cardiac event. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as bad about anything as I felt that day. I ruined it for him. I apologized, but that wasn’t close to enough. He was very kind, but I’ve never really gotten over it. I learned more than a few lessons that day. It continues to keep me humble.

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