There's no problem with the headline "Air Passenger 'Beyond Control,' Court Records Say" on the version of a June 20 article that appears on the Rocky Mountain News' website. It's another matter in the print edition, though. That headline reads, "Air Passenger 'Beyond Control,' Court Records Sa," which is considerably more intriguing. According to an entry in the online Free Dictionary, there's no definition for "sa" as an English-language word, but it's used plenty as an acronym -- for "Salvation Army," "South Africa," "South America" and "seaman apprentice," which earns points for sounding slightly obscene. But arguably the most surprising "SA" is described as a "Nazi militia created by Hitler in 1921 that helped him to power but was eclipsed by the SS after 1943." Kinda puts a new spin on the subject, doesn't it?
Yeah, yeah, every news organization makes typographical errors. In fact, Westword had an egregious one on a slideshow that was hyped on the paper's home page for a couple of days beginning on June 16: "The Fluid Reunion -- The Not-So-Secret Tune-Up Show at the Larimer" appeared as "The Fluid Reunion -- The No-So-Secret Tune-up Show at the Larimer." But the size and prominence of the Rocky oops symbolizes something more than a mere oversight.
Over the past couple of years, the paper has reduced costs through a series of buyouts, as well as by attrition -- and those who remain in the fold are being asked to do more and more to fill the gaps with each passing day. The stress this places on employees increases the possibility of errors -- including large, embarrassing gaffes like the one mentioned above.
Is there a solution to this problem? Not in the foreseeable future. Maybe that particular letter was missing from the headline because journalists used up the entire supply trying to figure out how the print-journalism industry got into its current predicament. "Y?" they must be wondering. "For God's sake, Y?" -- Michael Roberts
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.