Why Marie had her head shaved off – and other journalistic howlers

Calling this my blog is a bit of a cheat today.

By way of some entertainment to cheer you on your way to the weekend, here is a collection of journalistic howlers amassed over the years by The Bath Chronicle’s recently-appointed creative editor, Sian David.

  • Chairman of the Rangers, Chris Parkin, said the driver had acted foolishly and it was lucky no-one was seriously hurt. “It is not the sort of thing you should see on a football pitch or in a pubic park,” he said.


  •  “Across Carmarthenshire a few other councils have made similar noses but anything is a bonus.”


  • Now the 63-year-old is considering selling up, he said: “I have lived here 65 years.”


  • CONSTRUCTION workers have not been beaten by one of Llanelli’s busiest roundabouts as they create the town’s £25 East Gate development.


  • “Growing up I had a short attendance in my Achilles and that was my excuse and I really played on it. My life wasn’t very active at all.”

(NB: he meant short tendons but the reporter misheard!)


  • Although he has been formally identified, his name has not yet been made public. Next of kin and the corner have been informed.


  • In tough economic times, having successful local companies that are also big employers can be invaluable to both politicians and those in need of work. Thankfully, this region boasts some reliable employers still taking no staff, says Rupert Hall.


  • A tribute to their family predecessor Frank Hubert Maybery, who died as a second class passanger 100 years ago in the Titanic’s sink.


  • The health board’s head of strategic partnerships, Peter Llewellyn, said there would be a complete overall of hospital transport.


  • “There are people from the future in our schools right now”

(NB: the quote should have been: ‘there are soldiers of the future in our schools right now’)


  • For their first fundraiser, a fun day held at the Aberafan Shopping Centre on September 8, a total of £5,000 was raised and Marie Partridge had her head shaved off.


All of which caused much amusement and a few red faces over the bridge in Wales, where most of these horrors were perpetrated.

The serious point behind them, of course, is that they show the importance of re-reading your copy.

A lot of my time is currently being spent on training reporters to develop greater powers of self-criticism – whether that be in spotting such literals, noticing questions that need answering, or eliminating repetition and excess verbiage.

All of these pale into insignificance, though, beside one of the loveliest howlers of recent times.

On a story about the BBC’s cackhanded coverage of an abuse scandal at a Welsh children’s home, dailypost.co.uk carried the headline:

Bryn Estyn: Newsnight failed to complete ‘baasic journalistic checks’ 

Have a smashing weekend.



One thought on “Why Marie had her head shaved off – and other journalistic howlers

  1. Thank you so much Paul – you really made me laugh out loud. A great start to the weekend.

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