Laugh at Yourself

In my first correction I mixed up the last names of two town officials. I had it in my head that I was right. I had double checked it a couple times to make sure. Checking it didn’t help because I was wrong the entire time. We will call him “Sam.” I got the first name right, but I never checked the last name. No excuse for that one.

I wrote that story on a Friday night for Saturday’s paper. On Monday morning, one of my fellow reporters, before I sat down, told me my mistake. I was dumbfounded. I immediately called “Sam” and apologized profusely. He told me he understood and that it happens within the town all the time. That didn’t really help how I felt.
I took that correction hard. Of all the mistakes to make, getting someone’s name wrong is arguably the worst. It bothered me for a while after that. It still does today.

About a week later, I got to a meeting early in town, with both Sam and others waiting for the meeting to start. Not five minutes after I arrived, everyone started making little quips at me, jokingly of course, about my mistake. At first, I turned bright red and awkwardly smiled. After a little while I realized they weren’t mad or upset. Sam was okay with it and I knew if I didn’t laugh at myself, I was going to beat myself up about it for weeks. So, I gave in. I was still upset and embarrassed, but that whole situation gave me the drive to make sure something like that doesn’t happen again. So far it hasn’t.

I know this has been said a hundred times, but we are all human. Mistakes do happen and we try our damnedest to make sure they don’t. Obviously, if it’s a really bad mistake you won’t laugh. I get that. If it’s worse than a wrong/misspelled last name, you will have a lot more to worry about.

As a reporter/journalist/staff writer you can’t dwell on your mistakes. I’ve learned that. It’s not easy to push that aside, but like I’ve said before your writing will suffer if you don’t. Laughing at yourself helps you to move on. I’m not saying forget what you’ve done. I’m saying we should admit what we’ve done and keep working. The paper still has to be printed each day.




8 Responses to Laugh at Yourself

  1. originols says:

    having a masters in communication, I can tell u that…communication is not about what u have written,its about the massage…10 days later no one will remember the name but they all will remember what was written(the message)… just make sure that it doesn’t happen again..cheers!!

  2. atelljd says:

    That’s why newspapers report error errors on the second page on every edition, right?

    -A. Tell

  3. Pingback: Take it One Day at a Time « Just Starting Out

  4. Pingback: Check Name Spellings « Just Starting Out

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