Monday, July 11, 2005

Excuse My French

Having been published in daily newspapers (including the one in this post) in some form or another for five years now, I often forgive copy editing mistakes because I know it isn't often the reporter's fault, though s/he gets blamed for it, and it can ruin a clip of a great story. But here's a copy editing mistake from a story on the origin of sports' teams mascots and names in The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune that I found laughable. See if you can spot it:
Although the origin of the Irish nickname for the school -- whose formal name at its founding was French, the Universitè of Notre Dame du Lac -- is uncertain, almost surely the term began as an abusive expression, tauntingly directed at the athletes from the small, largely unknown, Catholic school in Indiana. Later, as it grew in football stature in the 1920s, Fightin' Irish was embraced wholeheartedly by Notre Dame as a testament to its spirit and tenacity.