Posted in Media, Navel-gazing

My Grey Cup screwup

I have, in the past, made light of errors made in various media. In some cases they’re minor and entirely understandable. In some cases there is a fundamental problem with something that has been reported.

And in some cases, it’s technically minor but incredibly embarrassing. I always sympathize with unintentional errors, even when I expose them for all to see.

If this had been any other Montreal media, I’d be posting it here with, I admit, a little bit of childish glee. But it was my paper.

And worse than that, it was me.

Erroneous Grey Cup scoreline in Monday's Gazette

I got an email this morning from Sarah Leavitt at OpenFile asking if I was working last night “when the Grey Cup mess up on the front page happened.” Since I had no idea what she was talking about, I turned on my laptop and looked at the electronic version of the paper (I’m too lazy to walk downstairs for the print version). I read the pointer text I had written, looked at the photo of the players and of the Grey Cup, looked at the page number it pointed to. I looked at the score to make sure it went in right. Yeah, it was 34-23 for the Lions…

Oh crap.

In case it hasn’t occurred to you, the error, which appears downpage on A1 on Monday, is that the name “Hamilton Tiger-Cats” should be “Winnipeg Blue Bombers”. It’s not like I wasn’t aware the Blue Bombers were the ones playing. But for whatever reason it didn’t hit me as I was filling in the rest of the text that Hamilton wasn’t the right team.

And it didn’t strike the other editors who read the front page, who are not big sports fans and had specifically asked me to write this text because they were worried about getting something fundamental wrong.

Naturally, this error did not go unnoticed. Influence Communication saw it and told its 12,000 followers. Mike Finnerty noticed it (and was nice about it, comparing it to one of his own errors). OpenFile has a story on it, by Leavitt, which quotes me trying to explain myself.

But really, there is no excuse. Just a very embarrassing correction in Tuesday’s paper, some teasing by fellow editors on the sports desk, and some reader email questioning our competence, all of which is clearly deserved.

Correction printed in The Gazette on Page A2 on Nov. 29

UPDATE (Nov. 29): I got some good-natured ribbing from my colleagues at work, and the newsroom manager said she got about a dozen phone calls from readers, many of them dripping with sarcasm. (I didn’t see any emails about it, though. Perhaps because the mistake wasn’t repeated online.)

News of the mistake made it to the Hamilton Spectator, which posted a story about it on Monday afternoon and included an image of the error in Tuesday’s paper.

The Gazette correction appeared in Tuesday’s edition on Page A2. I’m hoping my mom doesn’t add it to the scrapbook Too late, apparently. There are also two letters to the editor on the subject.

UPDATE (Dec. 4): Craig Silverman wrote this up for his column in the Toronto Star.

23 thoughts on “My Grey Cup screwup

  1. DB

    I was looking forward to reading your comment on this one; but it was you!!! Way to take it with class, better luck next time, and hope that this turns out to be memorable.

    Reply
  2. ProposMontréal

    I have to say I was laughing at it, but the fact that now that I know that this is “your” mistake, makes it….. a little bit funnier !
    One of my favorite Blogger in all of Montreal making this snafu is a weird sensation. Hopefully, your employer will ahve the same sense of humour as me !

    Reply
  3. Carmi

    I’ve never met a journalist who’s gone his/her entire career without making a boo-boo or two. Or three. Anyone who claims perfection is, frankly, lying.

    I think that’s one of the joys of the craft. That it’s so human, and is consequently so subject to the occasional error.

    Reply
  4. Justin

    They were talking about this on Daybreak Montreal this morning. We all have our mistakes as my grandma says ” Cest la vie..

    Reply
  5. Jim P.

    A bit of perspective please… Vancouver still won. So world history did not change.

    Imagine one of those time machine scenarios where you go back in time, change something and alter history. It’s it a good thing you just “chained to the desk journalist” and not a time travelling journalist….

    It takes courage to tell the world you erred. Good for you.

    Reply
  6. dave

    Last Monday (21st) had the NFL’s Eagles beating the Jets according to headline…in fact it was NY’s other team The Giants that they beat. (hope this wasn’t you too)

    Also sports editor Stu mentioned in Saturday’s column that Alex Ovechkin was benched for entire recent overtime vs. Ducks….the fact is that while he did not start the extra session he ended up assisting on the winning goal

    Reply
    1. Peter

      The Jets error was mine. Ironically, I once warned a senior editor that I don’t follow pro sports and “didn’t know the Jets from the Mets.” Apparently, I wasn’t kidding. You mean New York has TWO teams?

      Reply
  7. Jimmy Jack

    Jeez, I never noticed it until I read it here. Too bad you couldn’t edit the letters to the editor about it in today’s paper. Where they really necessary?

    Reply
  8. Bill Binns

    “the newsroom manager said she got about a dozen phone calls from readers”

    Who are these odd people who pick up the phone and call the Gazette newsroom when they spot an error?

    Reply

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