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Don't blame Marcia; the mistake was mine

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As much as any of us in the media try to be perfect, we make mistakes. Some are factual and normally they are the worst. They can be corrected, of course, but often not until damage is done.

Sometimes, however, a mere typo can be even worse. That is particularly true when that typo comes in a direct quote and on a word that, when written incorrectly, can change the entire dynamic of the quote.

Such was the case in our most recent issue of The Peorian magazine.

There was a typo, which in this case was an incorrect word in place of what was intended, in a quote from Marcia Henry Liebenow, the subject of our Artist in Residence feature. In the story, she was discussing the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, for which she is Concertmaster violinist.

What she said was, "We've been doing some really cool things and the symphony sounds better and better every year."

But in the printed edition of the magazine, the word "symphony" inside that quote came out "sympathy." You can see how it changes the quote; it almost makes it seem as if Marcia was ridiculing the Peoria Symphony, which she most certainly was not.

It got past spell check because sympathy is a real word and it also slipped past all of us here who proofread each story before it is printed. In this case there were four of us and some of us proofed it more than once. Still, it got through and into print.

I would love to blame it on auto correct but I cannot do that. I don't use auto correct in the software on which I write my stories because any of us who text regularly know how auto correct can mess things up. This was me; my mistake pure and simple. Typing the word "symphony" can easily become "sympathy" when one is typing fast, but that is no excuse, either.

I can tell you quite emphatically I abhor making mistakes of any kind. I beat myself up for them. What makes this one even more of a big deal to me is that Marcia Henry Liebenow, in my opinion, is a class individual. I learned that during the interview when I found her to be humble and unpretentious, which I always appreciate in people who by their talent and deeds could be arrogant but choose not to be.

Further, she was very nice to me when pointing out the mistake and understood when I told her there was no way I could correct it in the printed edition of the magazine.

We will correct the mistake in the flipbook version of the magazine that is here on our website.

To Marcia, I am sorry. To her colleagues in music, especially other Peoria Symphony members and music director George Stelluto, I apologize and assure you it was not Marcia's fault.

I would like to tell you I will never make a mistake again but I am not that naïve. Neither are you. When I do, I will own up to it and correct it.

Paul Gordon is editor of The Peorian. He can be reached at 692-7880 or

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).