Journalism’s worst typo ever gets Malta Independent right in the front page headline

‘Pubic’ nightmare headline is the reason we need proofreaders...

It is the reason the world needs sub-editors and proofreaders (and does this newspaper know it…).

With its massive, strong Aachen font, the front-page headline of Maltese newspaper Malta Independent screamed ‘Pubic inquiry into Caruana Galizia murder’.

Pubic. Pertaining to the pubis. Not public. A missing ‘l’ that will be the source of much embarrassment for our colleagues. Unfortunately, no amount of solidarity can cover up the wry satisfaction at such a gruesome human error. Schadenfreude and all that.

Nor has MaltaToday been immune to this error (a Google search for example returned a pubic consultation on littering for example, since then corrected, naturally; but do check out Fr Joe Borg in this opinion piece from 2007 in The Times on sexual and public health policy, quite a serendipitous find given the subject-matter).

But online typos are easily corrected in seconds once they come to our attention. Even in print, the odd ‘pubic display of affection’ is an error one can overlook in Warnock Pro 10-point font, drowned in a cascade of ink and submerged in that third column.

Yet, just as if we had been faced with the pubis (which to be fair is just a small part of the pelvic girdle) thrust into our faces, that screaming headline on the front page is every journalist’s worst nightmare, an error of throbbing proportions that instantly conjures up genitalia, errant hair, scrota and vulvas.

Sure, pubic and public are easily confused words (author's note: typo 'works' corrected). The main problem is that spell-check applications of most word processing software programs would not catch such a slip-up. Which is why, please, do not simply depend on Word spell-checks and auto-correct. That is why all journalists should re-read their work at least twice before filing.

Some relief for the TMID: even the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin had produced this egregious typo on the cover of its 2012 commencement programme. Chin up!

More in National