- In the 1980s, the Gannett Suburban Newspapers (now the Journal News) in Westchester County, N.Y., ran a story headlined something like "NYC Names New Police Chief," only instead of Lee Brown, the headshot was of singer James Brown. "Nearly half a dozen people signed off on the page before it went to print," a reporter who was there at the time says.
- In 1996, in the last edition before classes let out for the summer, the Virginia Tech Collegiate Times printed a story about Sharon Yeagle, assistant to the vice president for student affairs. The caption under her photo identified her as the school's 'director of butt licking.' Editor Katy Sinclair told the Associated Press that the mistake resulted from the paper's use of dummy copy stored in its computer system. Strangely, the paper had "accidentally" given the same title to the associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences on Oct. 7, 1995....
- In 1987, the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot ran a story about a man who had been evicted from his home, and was sitting in an armchair in his front yard. He was clearly profoundly dejected. The caption below the picture explained what had happened: He had mortgaged his house and lent the money to a relative, who then was unable to pay it back. This was of course a poignant revelation of the human condition. Unfortunately, the snippet of text which was to be replaced with the caption headline remained in place above the photo. It said: "Dummy Head."
- At the Gibsons (B.C., Canada) Coast News, local government decided to dead-end a local lane that was becoming a shortcut to the other part of town for savvy drivers. It was named Bals after a town father. The editor, bless his heart, ran the story under the headline, "Council votes to cut off Bals."
- One night at KBTX-TV Channel 3 News in Bryan-College Station, Texas, the production crew unfortunately got two videotapes out of order in the evening newscast, and as the anchor read "Texas A&M University intensifies its search for a new president," viewers were treated to pictures of county police officers hammering on the door of a trailer home notorious in the community as a place of prostitution.
Posted January 11, 2010