Normally, getting mentions across the blogosphere would be a flattering thing -- recognition for your hard work and whatnot. But today, it was definitely a source of embarrassment.
In case you haven't seen or heard:
From Gawker: Let Is Snow! Greetings From Brattleboro, Vt.
And from Jim Romenesko: How the heck did this happen?
So, when I sat down to craft this blog, I kept running over the reasons in my mind (which I'll share in a moment) of how or why a mistake like this can and does happen. But everything just sounded like an excuse. And the truth is: There is no excuse.
Let me repeat that: There is no excuse.
This was an obvious and unfortunate mistake and there's no really good reason for it, apart from human error and rushing.
So, to answer Mr. Romenesko's question, here's how something like this happens:
-- Due to the upcoming storm, we shifted the regular nightly deadline up two hours on Wednesday night (to ensure we'd be able to deliver the paper in the snow and keep our carriers safe). As an aside to this, I neglected to contact the night crew: I was doing extra work on the day shift and thought we'd still have more than enough time to complete the paper. In hindsight, I wish I hadn't done that.
-- After talking to the night editor about the error, I learned we had a few computer-related issues during the night shift, forcing the night crew to re-boot our production equipment a few times. In and of itself, this is a normal occurrence. However, in this case, it pushed her up against the night deadline, and a last minute re-write of what that original headline was (and I'm paraphrasing: from the more boring "area makes final prep for winter storm") to something more creative/interesting ("let it snow, let it snow, let it snow") ... well, it was a rush job and human error crept onto the page at the last moment when there was no more time for a final view of the page.
Again, none of this is an excuse. There is no excuse. But, I take a little comfort in the above-linked Romenesko post that shows human error is not Reformer-specific. When people are tasked with several stories or pages a day six days a week, usually rushing to get the work done, it's clear mistakes will be made. The challenge is making sure few, if any, make it on the air, in print, or online.
A big apology to the readers. As always, I'll use this opportunity as a learning experience, and since New Years Eve is right around the corner, it's the perfect opportunity for a resolution to eliminate typos (as best we can) from the Reformer moving forward. Especially in the main, front page headline!