Thursday, December 27, 2012

Rick Eastman, creator/inventor of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

When I got up today and checked my email, I found a "Google alert" about a TMNT-related story, and clicked on the link. It was mostly about Kevin Eastman and his history with the Turtles -- not a bad article, a little slapdash and loose with some of the facts, but containing a few charming details from Kevin about his childhood.

But the silliest -- okay, let's be honest -- the STUPIDEST thing about the piece could be found in the headline for it, as you can see by this screen grab I made.

I've had enough experiences with journalists and editors to know that a lot of them are either (a) rushing to make deadlines and thus prone to making dopey errors, and/or (b) just freakin' lazy. 

But this…! 

I mean, really, how do you justify a headline identifying the subject of the piece as "RICK Eastman" when the FIRST TWO WORDS OF THE PIECE correctly identify him as "KEVIN Eastman"?

Incredible. -- PL


  1. Newpaper/Online editors even in this day fail to check the obivous. Last month the front page of my local paper had a blurred photo. No excuses.

    Hope you had a great Christmas. Hope 2013 has something written by Peter Laird,I don't care what it is.

  2. I see what people mean when they say "Journalism is Dead" a bit.

  3. It looks like they fixed the headline but it still says Rick Eastman under one of the photos.

  4. Right, and "Rick" did it all on his own. HAHAHAHA.

  5. If it makes any difference, this was likely not the fault of the actual journalist (i.e. whoever actually conducted the interview and wrote the piece), but rather a negligent copy editor and/or online editor.

    Most people assume journalists write their own headlines, but that's rarely the case. The usually come from copy desk, get a second read by the slot editor, and then maybe one more time by the section editor. Online content is often more prone to errors because there can be a rush to get it up, and it doesn't get printed proofs and yet another read before the end of the night.

    I'm sure you have, in fact, dealt with a lot of sloppy journalism during your career. Especially if a lot of your interactions have been with primarily entertainment reporters. I just want to make sure you know where the blame should actually go; I'm sure the writer of the piece was just as horrified to open it later that night and see a giant "Rick" in the headline.

    -- A longtime Turtles fan and former university newspaper editor

    1. Ian, thanks for that clarification. I guess I consider editors journalists as well, and it is appalling when such egregious errors happen.

      When I first posted this entry, my daughter sent me a link to an even worse one:

      Ouch. -- PL

    2. Hahaha, ouch indeed.

      And yes, editors are journalists as well (especially content editors), and it's still a pretty mind-boggling error to get through so many people. It's just not quite as mind-boggling as if it had been by the same person who interviewed Kevin and wrote the story.

    3. I saw the article, Peter. What a shame!! "Let is snow" instead of "Let it snow" and "Away on a manager" instead of "Away on a manger" Ouch!! I don't think I do these kind of mistakes. English is not my native language. O.O

  6. Dang!

    Looks like we're going to have to do some SERIOUS recutting on the doc...

    Randall Lobb

  7. Many times editors don't proofread, what they write. It's a shame!! Poor Kevin!!.