Friday, April 10, 2009

Spell check turns Mormon leaders into apostates

It seems that spell-check programs ought to come with a consumer warning.

PROVO, Utah (AP) — Thousands of issues of Brigham Young University’s student newspaper were pulled from newsstands because a front-page photo caption misidentified leaders of the Mormon church as apostates instead of apostles.[...]-

An apostate is someone who abandons a previous loyalty (to a faith, movement, politcal party, cause, etcetera).

The newspaper staff retrieved as many of the 18,500 copies of the paper as possible and reprinted them with the correction. And it issued an apology to the apostles. The staff also explained how it happened: an error in spell-checking.

It started when a student misspelled the word “apostle” when writing the photo caption. When the caption was put through the editing software’s spell checker, it was flagged, and the editor accidentally clicked the first word that came up on the correct list: “apostate.” The mistake made it past two proofreaders before being sent off to the printing press.

Source: Associated Press, April 7, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog


A few years, the Newton Kansas newspaper had a front page headline about an addition to the Pubic library.

A study with college students found that those using spell-check and grammar-check programs made more errors than those doing the job manually.

I've made my share of errors both ways. Proof-reading is one of the hardest tasks to do well.

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