When I saw that Peter King's column today was little more than the transcript of the speech he gave at the Ohio University commencement ceremony, I felt a little cheated. Fortunately, I decided to read the column anyway in the hope of finding an error that would be suitable grounds for a post.
Fortunately, I say, because King, in part of his speech, made a point that I think is in many ways exactly what this blog is about. I'll copy and paste:
Lesson 3: Use spell check.
You know what bosses in the real world hate? Sloppiness. I had a journalism professor here, Dru Evarts, who had a rule in every one of her classes. Any paper you wrote for her would get an automatic F if there was one misspelling or one grammatical error. Experience was a painful teacher there, and some really good writers got Cs and Ds over the years in her class. Her theory was a good one -- there's never an excuse for submitting anything less than your absolute best. Now, with computers able to validate every apostrophe, there's really no excuse for you to send out a cover letter or résumé with even a minor mistake.
A couple of years ago, a young writer asked me to read one of his stories. I counted -- 14 errors. I emailed him back and said, "Don't waste your time trying to do this job until you have enough respect for your readers to spell 'thorough' correctly.'' Think of yourself as a boss. Why would you want to hire you? In this economy, you'd better be good -- and extremely conscientious.
I completely agree with Dr. King's point; while I've been a bit harsh on him in the past, he's earned my respect.
Not that I won't continue surveying King's articles with red pen in hand every Monday and Tuesday, ready to jump on any mistake and post a snarkily written response here - because I will. But, still - that's a good speech.