Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Enough to Make You Blubber

On an otherwise fascinating AP story about a whale killed off the Alaskan coast last month that turned out to be more than 115 years old, these errors:

The whale harkens back to far different era.

It's "hark back," not "harkens back."

And even my bad math skills notices this:

The whale, which was nearly half a football field long.....
Hmm. Half a football field is 150 feet.

The 49-foot male whale died when it was shot with a similar projectile last month...

So maybe it was a third of a football field. {I was joking here. See the comments.}

Nice try, AP, but the errors detract from the facts of the story. Look, I'm not trying to pick on the AP but a lot of papers still just rip and read--if the AP provides it, it goes into the paper virtually untouched. That would, it seems to me, require that the AP and other services, including my own, take extra care. With the AP, it's especially important since even the smallest free papers are using it.

UPDATE: Doug Fisher has a link to an unusual math conversion site.


Peter Fisk said...

>So maybe it was a third of a football field.

Well, my cypherin' pegs 49 feet at more like a half of a third -- also known as one-sixth -- of a football field.

Editoress said...

Hi, Peter, yes. I was making a little joke and hoping someone would notice. thanks for coming by.

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