Ledger Inquirer

Inquirer: Walking a fine line when writing about public typos

This has been one of those weeks where nothing goes right or wrong, depending on your perspective.

First, a Concerned Reader named Kim sent an email reporting a dangerously leaning pine tree that was hanging out over Fairchild Drive in the Britt David area. It really looked dangerous and just the kind of thing I like to write about.

I drove over Friday to get a better picture (no offense, Kim) and danged if a tree crew wasn't already in the process of taking the tree down.

"I thought you were going to do Clubview (Elementary) this week," my supervisor said when I reported the setback.

"Well, I guess I am now," I said.

The issue at Clubview, as you see in the accompanying photo, taken a week or so ago, is the misspelling of the word "school" as "shool," which is kind of funny when you think about it.

Now this is the second time in as many months that I have walked this fine line along such a slippery slope.

Last month, I did a special mid-week column about the city unveiling a historic marker that had a word misspelled in three places. And now I am picking on the Muscogee County School District for the same such offense. But I will do so within the following context:

In my 30-something years of doing this, here and elsewhere, it is altogether possible, maybe even probable, that I've gotten a word or two wrong along the way. Really! So when I point to the misspelling at Clubview, I do so in that context. That is, in the context of a fellow sinner offering information, but not from a position to offer either criticism or absolution.

Because as soon as I act high and mighty about such gaffes, a retired English teacher, probably retired from Clubview, will mark up the newspaper and send me a blistering -- but literate and well-spelled -- letter that will probably be hot to the touch.

Hell knows no wrath the likes of that wielded by retired English teachers. Bless their hearts.

So I was shifting gears to write about Clubview when I decided to go to lunch. As I was driving back to the office, I rode by the school on Edgewood Road and danged if they haven't fixed that, too.

Great. Thanks a lot.


Speaking of the city's misspelling, the historic marker in front of the old slave cemetery on Sixth Avenue has been taken down so it can be fixed.

-- Seen something that needs attention? Well, it's probably been fixed already. But just in case, contact me at 706-571-8570 or mowen@ledger-enquirer.com.