Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Proof the Times is different from the rest of us

Or at least that in midtown Manhattan they seem to use different calendars than the rest of the world.

Friend and reader Gary Karr passes along this Timesean correction (which I have not seen in Regret the Error):

An article on Thursday about the arraignment of three men in the shooting of two New York police officers, one of whom died, misstated the schedule set by a judge for a trial in the case. The trial is expected to begin by February, not by “Feb. 30.” The error occurred when an editor saw the symbol “— 30 —” typed at the bottom of the reporter’s article and combined it with the last word, “February.” It is actually a notation that journalists have used through the years to denote the end of an article. Although many no longer use it or even know what it means, some journalists continue to debate its origin. A popular theory is that it was a sign-off code developed by telegraph operators. Another tale is that reporters began signing their articles with “30” to demand a living wage of $30 per week. Most dictionaries still include the symbol in the definition of thirty, noting that it means “conclusion” or “end of a news story.

Of course, as Karr writes: "Left unsaid: NYT hires editors who think Feb. 30 could exist."

But at least you get a nice journalism history lesson as a result.

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At 8/3/07, 9:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point about Feb. 30, but how could you work in this business and not know what "-- 30 -- " means?

Man, the Times has gone down hill fast.

And, there's little doubt as to the origin -- original wire copy closed with "XXX"

At 8/3/07, 10:47 PM, Blogger SGuilfoyle said...

Isn't it a leap year?
And with Barry Bonds doing his thing,

That's a joke.

At 9/7/07, 7:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, just confused by Howard Owen's comment,

"And, there's little doubt as to the origin -- original wire copy closed with 'XXX' "

Clarification as to how this explains the origin of the -30- notation?

At 9/7/07, 8:25 PM, Blogger Doug said...

I'm assuming he means XXX is the Roman numeral equivalent of 30. I'd not heard that one, but it's enticing.


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