Readers of the Memphis Commercial Appeal found a strangely out-of-place paragraph in an article about business zoning regulations: A 350-plus word status update apparently intended for the Facebook page of the newspaper's copy editor. At least she alerted us that it'd be long.
Jim Romenesko's blog has a snapshot of the article as it appeared in the print edition of the Commercial Appeal. Everything looks normal until, midway through a sentence, the article veers off wildly, detouring into a story about how the copy editor in question accepted a newspaper job she'd initially turned down, thanks to some strong advice from her mother.
"...and so began a 30-year journalism career," the phantom Facebooker writes, hinting that had she not taken the job, she might still be living with said mother, working at a phone shop, waiting for a better journalism job than the one she accepted so many years ago.
Louis Graham, editor of the Commercial Appeal, explained to Romenesko how the Facebook faux pas occurred:
A copy editor had multiple screens open and as I understand copied the status update from her email into FB, then later accidentally copied it, again, into the text of the story she was editing. Obviously, it's embarrassing for her and the newspaper; it's a regrettable accident. We ran a correction in print this morning and re-ran the story.
Look, we've all copy-pasted the wrong thing into the wrong window. It's a peril of our digital life. Fortunately for most of us, one of those windows isn't usually the one that sends printing presses into motion and distributes your folly to hundreds, or thousands, of readers.
Let's just hope the Facebooker in question hasn't found herself having to follow her mother's advice about finding a job again. [Jim Romenesko]