If Your News Report Arrives Before the Blood Dries, You Can Expect a Few Typos


Stabbing at BP gas station Arlington Heights Road and Algonquin Road in Arlington Heights YouTube Tips ⓘ

Last night there was a stabbing at a BP gas station in Arlington Heights, but the area was very large and involved multiple crime scenes — almost one block long. During news gathering, and while a few news camera people were on the scene, the Cardinal Emergencies Facebook page was lit up with people asking for details. Nothing was posted immediately because the circumstances at the scene were unclear.

First observed, was a lot of police activity at the Comfort Inn where police were armed with rifles. Mutual aid police officers alongside Arlington Heights police officers, and a photography drone were also located at the Comfort Inn — well north of the primary crime scene.

“It was difficult to figure out what happened and what was happening.”

At Red Roof Inn, crime scene tape was already set up, and police were trying to reach someone on the phone. All this was observed before the primary scene at the BP gas station was even visible. Then it was clear that the entire BP gas station property was off limits to the public.

Unfortunately, the details were a little hard to gather and comprehend, especially because of the size of the crime scene.

Since there is a lot of demand from citizens to have an accurate idea regarding what is happening, CARDINAL NEWS always hopes to take on the challenge of trying to size up what has happened with an accurate assessment. Also, there is big challenge to avoid being entirely wrong about an incident. One tip indicated that there was already a death at the scene with a body inside the BP gas station store. However, the crime scene didn’t really look like a homicide investigation. The immediate death report was quickly confirmed as false.

The article was published a little later than desired, but in the rush to publish, there were a few typos. Last night, two sentences with typos got by when the article was published at 10:20 p.m. — less than three hours after the complex scene was reported.

=== TYPOS ========

Police, firefighters and paramedics from Arlington Heights responded about 7:32 p.m. Tuesday, May 3, 2022 to a report of a stabbing victim located dat (sic) the BP gas station at 2250 South Arlington Heights Road in Arlington Heights.

Paramedic (sic) transported the victim to Level 1 Trauma Center Advocate Lutheran General hospital, leving (sic) the scen (sic) by about 7:40 p.m.


The Facebook comments section also lit up with critiques and some ridicule regarding the typos. Historically, these type of critiques are not only targeted at CARDINAL NEWS, but every Facebook page for all TV stations and newspapers in Chicagoland have been the target of these type of critiques and ridicule. The peanut gallery comments then take away from the importance of the message. It’s a little amusing because suddenly these critical commenters are reviewing the article like they are reviewing grilled salmon at the local restaurant — as if they are the only people with the brilliance and fine taste to have detected the typos.

A few people complained they couldn’t even comprehend the article because of the typos. Au con·traire, if there’s one thing that really stands out regarding human intelligence, it’s that human beings can understand words in the context of a sentence despite the missing letters. Compare human intelligence to a character recognition machine that often stumbles on words with missing letters … or even the autocorrect on your smartphone that frequently gets the autocorrect wrong.

The typos were unfortunate, but the important achievement was that a significant amount of news was gathered without help from officials, and the assessment was accurate and backed up by 18 photos from the multiple scenes.

While most people probably understand the likelihood of article errors getting by in a rushed situation under less-than-ideal conditions, here is an explanation for the “typo-allergenic” so they can understand the challenges that are involved when news is produced, and why the errors happen.

First of all, most police officers aren’t allowed to provide information to news media at the scene. For the news media, the slate is mostly blank. Usually police information is carefully complied, and then released in a press release several hours or days later. Compliments are due to the Arlington Heights Police Department because they posted a detailed press release within five hours of the initial dispatch of the stabbing incident.

Since there is a citizen demand to know what happened ASAP — including whether the area is safe, and who might have been involved, etc — news media usually provides this information as quickly as possible.

Obviously, the act of writing an article outdoors at the crime scene does not enjoy the comforts of writing at a desk at home or at the normal workplace. Technology is also usually a big challenge. You have to be near a good Wi-Fi connection (especially if video uploads are involved), while being out of the way of police and firefighters and safety hazards. If you move too far from the scene, you might miss updates that are happening at the scene. You need an adequate charge of your batteries on all devices (phones, cameras, laptops); and if charges are not adequate, you need to juggle your devices. There is not a day that goes by that limited technology capabilities don’t interfere with the effort of getting the job done well. One of the biggest problems is when characters or letters aren’t placed properly in a document — even when they’re hit properly on a device’s keyboard. Devices frequently lag, and the letters and numbers are often dropped in sentences. Autocorrect can be a nightmare also — changing plurality, changing grammatical tense, or changing a word entirely. Voice dictation can also be a problem. A few years ago at train crash, a bystander within earshot blurted out a curse word, and the voice dictation picked it up in the background, and the curse word ended up being published temporarily. Peanut gallery critics had a riot about that, too.

Include these problems with distractions on the scene, and the need to multi-task, and the need for speed … there is a good chance that proofing doesn’t reach a pinnacle of performance.

Regarding writing perfectly clear sentences, there are several distraction issues based primarily on interruptions: (1) A new event connected to the main news incident might unfold, and the writer has to stay vigilant to these events that might unfold; (2) an unsafe condition could develop; (3) a bystander might ask a question or provide additional information; (4) a bystander might be belligerent or even dangerous; (5) a witness might decide not to provide information; (6) or a police officer might ask you to move (although all police officers were extremely friendly and courteous last night). On top of this, an entirely new incident at another location can develop that might require a decision to divert attention to the new incident. There is always some vigilance to the aforementioned possibilities while writing.

Additionally, during many incidents there is a decision that needs to be made regarding whether to provide video for the Chicagoland TV news market. If video is provided to television news stations, the TV stations are usually given priority because TV broadcast assures the news will reach the most people. However, if news video submitted doesn’t meet the 9:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m. programming deadline, the news won’t reach people until about 4:00 a.m. the next day. There are also all sorts of additional tasks added on that must be handled with extreme speed if video is provided for TV news stations.

Even as this article was being written, and as the typos were being corrected first thing this morning, Comcast Xfinity was doing planned maintenance in the neighborhood, which involved an on-and-off interrupted Internet connection. Wi-Fi was switched to a Verizon Wireless backup — just another example of daily challenges that involve juggling technology to provide a near non-stop news service.

Regarding last night’s typos, the device being used was lagging, and the device dropped characters. The article was pushed out rapidly while video was also being assembled. Suddenly, there was a need for additional video, and then there was no time for secondary proofreading when the article was published. To be perfectly honest, the dropping of characters and incorrect autocorrect while writing is a common and major pain in the a**.

The bottom line? You can let a few typos ruin your experience, or you can benefit from the sometimes imperfect output of an informative and complex operation.

By the way, if you see a typo, the best response is to send a message or comment positively with details about the typo, so it can be corrected rapidly. That would also be beneficial to the community.

That’s a much better solution than hyperventilating, and behaving like you have never seen a typo before — along with creating your own side conversation in the comments section, which will probably be deleted anyway.

Also, CARDINAL NEWS is always working on ways to reduce errors during fast production.

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