N&Oops is a blog and Twitter feed that launched this autumn to document mistakes in The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C. The blog’s anonymous author is a “former journalist who left newspapers voluntarily several years ago and harbors no bitterness toward the industry.” In this Q&A, conducted by email, N&Oops discusses what inspired the blog’s origins and goals.
Q. What is the purpose of your blog, and what inspired it?
A. Basically the purpose of the blog is to point out obvious errors in the N&O, especially the ones that are amusing. For the purpose of the blog, an “obvious error” would be one that could be spotted with doing little or no research.
It’s also somewhat of a social media experiment and something to do for fun. The “Wake Cunty” error was the one that helped push it from an idea to reality.
Q. What types of errors do you see? Are themes emerging?
A. There seem to be a lot of errors in captions and subheadlines. The sports section also seems to have more errors than other sections, probably due to tighter deadlines.
Q. You’ve noted errors in email alerts from newsobserver.com and Tweets from N&O writers and editors. Do you think those should be held to the same standard as what appears in print?
A. Errors are errors and typos are typos, regardless of the medium. Readers expect the N&O to have names spelled accurately and correct punctuation, even in tweets and alerts.
Q. Your blog and Twitter feed allow you to remain anonymous. Do you see a time when you would identify yourself?
A. Likely not, as this is intended to be contributor-driven. So far, there have been contributions from at least 10 different people.
Q. What do you see as the endgame for the blog? In other words, is there a “mission accomplished”?
A. No endgame. How long posting keeps up at the current pace depends mostly on contributor submissions and the volume of errors.