I want others opinons on this...does this seem a tad excessive?

<p>Alright, so I am a journalism major in a fairly well known journalism program. In this one class I am taking, if you spell one proper name incorrectly, it is an automatic F. Now, on the paper I turned in today, I spelled the name of a certian presidential candidate Hilary Clinton. It is just very frustrating to me that all my efforts spent writing this paper and proofreading it will go to waste just because of one letter. I'm just wondering if anyone else out there thinks that giving an F is a tad harsh, when lowering the grade by a letter or two would probably teach the same lesson</p>

<p>No. My not-especially-well-known department does the exact same thing. When you print something wrong, you have to print a retraction, which is a hassle. And spelling someone's name wrong is one of the most annoying things you can do. It alienates people. Trust me, after you fail an assignment you've worked hard on because you didn't check the spelling of a name with pretty much ensure that you won't do it again.</p>

<p>If it just "lowered the grade by a letter or two", as you say, it would not teach the same lesson-- two weeks later you would make the same mistake again, and be back at square one. Now, you will probably never make this mistake again, and this minor setback will save your *** one day. :)</p>

<p>Btw, I'm a newspaper journalism major at a nationally well-known J-school too, so I know what I'm talkin about.</p>

<p>Well, when the person writing an article can't even spell someone's name correctly, especially a very well known individual, it doesn't exactly instill confidence in the reader regarding the accuracy of everything else in the article. It is actually a big deal and I bet you won't make the same mistake again! ;-)</p>

<p>harsh crowd.</p>

<p>It does seem drastic. Has the teacher ever actually done it to anyone? You have to admit that with something that big hanging over your head you are going to make sure everything is spelled correctly and perfect. It could just be a scare factor?</p>

<p>Behaviorally, giving a strong punishment like an "F" right away will be FAR more effective than will simply lowering your grade a letter... it just works better for learning; and as has been said, your mistake is a pretty critical one in journalism. You don't want to p*ss off your subject or readers!</p>

<p>My school newspaper spell my name wrong all the time.</p>

<p>I wish they'd get F's.</p>

<p>I was going to say that it was extremely harsh - but then I read that this is journalism school. Sorry, it's unfair, but things like spelling names correctly will be crucial to your future as a journalist, so while it sucks, it's probably a good lesson in the long run.</p>

<p>Getting your facts right is crucial for a journalist, and you've got the entire internet available to you for fact-checking. No, I don't think it's unreasonable that failing to get a basic, unambiguous, and easy-to-check fact like a proper name right means you fail the assignment.</p>

<p>I used to be a journalism prof, and I had rules even more stringent than the OP's prof's. I gave automatic 0s for any typos, spelling errors, errors of fact, libel or of course plagiarism.</p>

<p>My students thought that I was very mean.</p>

<p>However, after they entered the journalism workforce -- whether after graduation or during a college internship -- they returned and thanked me. They saw that just as I had told them, even spelling errors and typos can lead to firings in the real world. Such errors also can lead to one's not getting hired. I know at least one student who didn't get a stellar internship because of a typo in her cover letter. The recruiter showed me the error: The student had spelled "Detroit" "Detriot".</p>

<p>I also told my students that when copyediting their own work or others, they should check all names (including names of organizations, buildings, etc.), make sure that all numbers make sense (For instance, they should count the victims in traffic accidents to make sure that if the story said 4 people were injured, 4 people were listed.), and eliminate any potentially libelous material from the story (Example: "James Jacks, a neighbor of the person whose house burned down said, "I'm not surprised that her house burned down. Stacy Thomason was clearly insane, a prostitute and a crackhead. I could tell that by the way she said, "'hello.'")</p>

<p>Anyway, I worked at some of the country's largest newspapers including The Washington Post, so I know how important it is to have stories be error and libel free. No matter how important and otherwise accurate a story is, readers will doubt its veracity and the publication's overall quality if there are any errors in it including typos.</p>

<p>This includes lengthy sports stories that have to be completed 10 minutes after national championships.</p>

<p>Friend of mine won a Pulitzer Prize for a package of stories that included a very long deadline-written story about a natural disaster that ran on the NY Times front page -- exactly as she originally wrote it.</p>

<p>If you still think that the professor's grading standards are too difficult, you need to find another major.</p>

<p>jtrain351: I just looked through your posts to see where you were and I had to laugh...</p>

<p>My best friend just visited the journalism school where you are last week to look at it for her son (he's a junior)...They attended a specific journalism info session....My friend asked the dean? running the session how they look at the writing section of the SAT/ACT given that they are a JOURNALISM school...He responded that they do not think that it is important....They could care less....</p>

<p>I do agree with the importance of 100% accuracy as a journalist....it's interesting, though, that they only care about the writing AFTER you are in, not for admissions (or maybe they use another factor???).....</p>

<p>ps Totally agree with Northstar Mom</p>

<p>The writing section of the SAT would be a terrible way to select prospective journalists. It's a dreadful test in which one can get a high score with inaccurate, formulaic writing.</p>

<p>The other parts of the SAT, however, can be important for journalism schools' consideration because critical reading in particular measures how well students interpret and understand information. Someone who misinterprets info is going to write inaccurate stories.</p>

<p>As many top editors and journalism profs say, "We can teach students to write. We can't teach them to think."</p>

<p>Northstar: thanks...I'll set my friend straight.....I guess since her son is a great writer (according to his teachers; I have no idea) he'll have to find another way to show that to journalism schools when he applies..I do like that quote though....</p>

<p>I know that the writing section is not really a great measure....just the only one standardized at this point......</p>

<p>wouldn't the spell check feature in your word processor have picked up the typo? even a simple google search would have said "did you mean ______?"</p>

<p>You can't rely on spellcheck to catch all errors. It won't catch many name errors, and won't catch things like misstyping "there" for "their."</p>

<p>No, because Hilary is a prefectly legitimate spelling of the name. Its like Philip and Phillip - both are acceptible...but you need to use the right one for the right person.</p>

<p>i know spell checkers don't catch everything but i find it pretty good when it comes to catching inconsistencies in spelling such as typing a word incorrectly in one line of the entire paper. plus if you (as the writer I would assume you know what you know and don't know how to spell) aren't sure there's always dictionaries and search engines which can correct misspellings as well. i'm not saying spell check is perfect but for 95% of words I'd say it'll do it's justice. the other 5% you obviously have to know what words to use and if it isn't a common word you have to make sure to verify it's correct spelling. I think Hillary Clinton falls under that 95%. I mean I don't know how often the name was used in this article the OP wrote BUT there's only one way of spelling Hillary and one way of spelling Clinton. Any weird additions or changes to the spelling of either name will result in some kind of 'spelling' error in a word processor. Even in Firefox I get corrected if I try to misspell Hillary Clinton. It sucks for the OP that's the mistake he made. I mean if it were anything else that wasn't common spelling, then yea I could see where the error may have slipped through, but misspelling Hillary Clinton....i don't think so.</p>

<p>you know what i stand corrected. never seen Hilary before. Always seen it written Hillary. Go figure. Boy must really suck to have to write articles with people who have names that can be misspelled with one letter.</p>

<p>Question to the OP: How often did you use the name in the paper you wrote?</p>

BUT there's only one way of spelling Hillary


Try telling that to Hilary Swank or Hilary Duff. (Sorry; cross-posted with you!)</p>

<p>Relying on spell check is the lazy person's way. My guess is that the professor is trying to get rid of that lazy habit.</p>

<p>When we proofread articles in college and law school for spelling and typos, we'd read them backwards. That way, we had to concentrate on each individual word, not get mixed up in the meaning of the sentence, and stop the brain from "reforming" or "correcting" words to the ones that it believes the reader meant (which is likely what happened with the misspelling of "Detriot" - the writer's brain "corrected" it).</p>

<p>Of course, this technique doesn't work for grammatical or word-choice errors, but it catches a lot of typos!</p>