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Village names ‘autocorrected’ in weekly title

Who needs sub-editors when you have spellcheck, right?

Wrong – as the Rossendale Free Press found out when its page seven lead about flooding appeared both in print and online with a stream of bizarre pseudonyms replacing village names.

It looks like the spellcheck system found Lancashire place names like Rawtenstall, Crawshawbooth, Bacup and Ramsbottom a little too difficult to deal with, inserting more computer-friendly words like Ratchets, Crushability, Barcus and Ramsgate.

No-one from the Free Press has so far responded to requests for a comment on the issue.  The story has since been taken down.

15 comments

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  • July 4, 2013 at 10:02 am
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    I can think of better (worse) things to call Bacup. Used to be best paper in Roch Ob group this in a cracking news patch. Like all papers/ websites from that group, a shadow of what they could be. An example of cost-cutting that has led to irreversible damage.

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  • July 4, 2013 at 10:16 am
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    Online, I might just understand a temporary blip, as reporters are under pressure to upload directly wherever there’s a ‘digital first’ policy. Someone will eventually spot the howlers and the story can be corrected.

    But your story says this went into print, too. That’s just awful, and a real indictment of the potential pitfalls of reporters – sorry, ‘content gatherers’ – filling shapes with ‘content’ without proper sub-editing.

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  • July 4, 2013 at 10:23 am
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    More sad than laughable.

    I’m a former resident and wish the paper well but the staff are under terrible pressure.

    Come back former editor Adrian Purslow. A former boxer he once put his fist through a door in anger at some stupid mistake – but the paper had the highest standards for miles around and was hugely influential.

    The current staff must take some responsibility for spelling mistakes like these (who is subbing?) but, like with all papers, they are having to cut too many corners just to get the paper out.

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  • July 4, 2013 at 10:41 am
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    Reminds me of a very long and serious p2 lead about a rather portly politician whose surname was Kelly. The sub’s spellcheck auto-corrected it without him noticing and it was printed throughout as…Mr Belly.

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  • July 4, 2013 at 10:46 am
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    A good sub can add place names to their spellcheck as they’re going along, or is alert to unnecessary changes. Ah, hang on, have they got any good subs??

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  • July 4, 2013 at 11:02 am
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    This is brilliant!

    This story should be sent to every Newspaper group MD!

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  • July 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm
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    Sub Up North: Have they got any good subs? More like, have they got any subs at all? Certainly not on the website. This is modern newspapers, folks!

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  • July 4, 2013 at 2:37 pm
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    There are a lot of journalists on here speculating about things they don’t know anything about. Are there any subs? Yes. Do reporters write into templates? No.

    Shame everyone who puts their rose-tinted glasses on before visiting this website fails to mention just what a good newspaper is put out each week, far better than it’s been for a very long time.

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  • July 4, 2013 at 3:28 pm
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    Ramsbottom was always Tupps’ Arse in my day and Bacup was Backup.

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  • July 4, 2013 at 3:28 pm
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    Aren’t Crushability and Ratchets real places then?

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  • July 4, 2013 at 4:19 pm
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    Birmingham Post once ran a story about the Birmingham Northern Relief Road – BNRR – that spellchecker had changed to BONER. How we cringed – then howled

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  • July 4, 2013 at 5:14 pm
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    Saw exactly this happen on a daily I was on 15 years ago. The upshot was spell checks were turned off on all subs machines for the next 12 months.

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