I worked the weekend shift at my newspaper, which involves covering anything newsworthy that happens on Friday afternoon/evening and Saturday afternoon/evening.
Friday was pretty quiet, but I was running around and writing like a fool on Saturday. I was relieved when I headed home at about 11 p.m. on Saturday.
Then I started driving home.
Alone in my car, my mind started churning as soon as I hit Interstate 97.
Dave or Drew? SuperFresh or Shoppers? Alison or Allison?
I had written so many stories (four!) so quickly, that I worried I had made mistakes.
My stories were edited, of course, and editors are good at finding things like numbers that don’t add up or using “affect” instead of “effect.” But they can’t look into my notebook and see if I wrote down a person’s name as “Alison” or “Allison.”
I tried to calm myself down on the drive home, reminding myself that when Alison spelled her name, I remarked I had a friend with the same spelling. Or that when I interviewed Dave, I made sure to check whether he preferred “Dave” or “David.”
I also tried to remind myself that it was too late, anyhow. By the time I got home at 11:30 p.m., it would probably too late to make any changes. I would just have to suffer the consequences if I did make a mistake.
I’m not sure why I worry so much. I do occasionally make mistakes — every journalist does. We’re not perfect. But I’m not a heavy presence in the corrections box. And I do my best (even when I’m rushed) to get the most important things correct.
I imagine I’m not alone in this late-night panic over errors. I’d love to hear from my fellow journalists about their fears of making mistakes.
In the meanwhile, I’d love it if you’d read the insane amount of stories I wrote for The Sunday Capital. One story was written ahead of time, and the other four were written on my Saturday shift.
- The Chesapeake Bay at a Crossroads and related video.
- A perfect — and public — wedding proposal.
- Maryland Day offers insight into local history.
- Plane’s wheels give way during landing.
- Smash-and-grab effort fails.