A Guardian reader has complained that the paper's correction column isn't funny anymore, readers' editor Siobhain Butterworth, reveals in her Open Door column today.
The reader, Bill Edmead, complained: "Some while back, the corrections had a reputation for often being witty. The corrections we get these days are tediously dull and dry … is it that you have to fill the standard available space so have to put any old rubbish in? Please, get a grip."
Butterworth replies: "Any old rubbish? The paper's corrections may not always be a bundle of laughs, but some mistakes don't lend themselves to jokes. It's not exactly side-splitting that a birthday list included someone who died three years ago, or that a journalist didn't tell readers that one of the people he interviewed for a story on home-buying is related to him – to take two examples from last week."
She also reveals: "Traffic to the readers' editor's office has grown from 6,000 emails, letters and calls in 1999-2000, when the website was a fledgling, to around 22,500 in 2008-09. We're told about so many mistakes that we can't always find room for the sort of items that make journalists blush and readers smile, but are otherwise quite harmless, such as this correction from 1999: "Homophone corner, from a piece about Goole, page 11, Travel, August 28, in which we referred to "the original farming, fishing and fouling hamlet…"
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