I've seen a few typos in my day

Steve Lyon
Looking back over the news in
2019 to compile the year in review
was interesting.
There were milestones in the lives
of residents – births and deaths and
reminders of our mortality and time’s
eternal passage.
There were natural disasters with
spring flooding on the Weiser
River. The snowpack
reached 165 percent of average
with a lot of late-winter
precipitation in February.
For a day or two in April,
you could have sold lakefront
property on both sides
of U.S. Highway 95 to people
passing through and told
them plans for a marina were
in the works.
Thankfully, local firefighters
were spared doing
battle with any big wildfires.
It was unusually quiet
in that regard.
What I didn’t find were many glaring
typos in stories or goofs in headlines,
thanks to our crack team of proofreaders
who scour and parse every page.
At other newspapers I have worked
at we used to collect the unforgettable
typos and mistakes of the previous year
and compile them in a humorous endof-
year story.
Errors happen in print, especially
where you are dealing with lots of information
coming at you from lots of directions.
And there are deadlines. I have
had pressmen stand over my shoulder
waiting for a page.
There were some typos that, while
incredibly funny, were not
suitable for print in a general
circulation newspaper.
But we did get some serious
laughs in the newsroom
when a goof made it to print.
It’s amazing how transposing
one letter in a word
or leaving one letter out can
give it a whole new meaning.
I emailed the sports editor
at a newspaper in Nevada I
used to work with to see if
he could recall a couple of
funny ones. If I recall correctly,
he churned out a few himself.
He once wrote a blurb about a high
school drug-free graduation party. He
got a little ahead of himself typing on
the keyboard and it appeared in print as
a free-drugs graduation party.
He also wrote about a chili-cookoff
that became a child cook-off. And who
can forget the ads touting Grounddog’s
Day specials?
Our cops and crime reporter noted in
a story that the jury’s verdict was anonymous
when it should have been unanimous.
There were headline goofs. They
were not all typos. Some had unintended
meanings that sailed right past an editor’s
bloodshot eyes.
Others were “Duh” headlines that
some editor approved. We didn’t run
these, but a couple of my all-time favorites
are: “Statistics show that teen
pregnancy drops off significantly after
age 25” and “Human brian still evolving,
says scientist.”
I learned a very important lesson
early on in newspaper work. Don’t joke
around with headlines and photo cutlines
assuming someone will fix them.
Someone wrote something like “Hey,
XXX fill out the rest of this photo cutline,
dummy...” and that is the way it appeared
in the paper the next day.
One typo that almost got into print
in the Weiser Signal American gave a
whole new take on a local volunteer
organization. Someone referred to the
Citizens on Patrol as Citizens on Parole.
If you spot a fun typo send it my way.
Steve Lyon is the editor of the Weiser
Signal American. Contact him at


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

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