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On Editing
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Nothing is as frustrating and as important as editing your creative and copy, especially when one is on a tight deadline. Most of us have done it; we finish a piece of work and send it off to our CD or — even worse — a client, just to find out that a word in their core competencies is misspelled, or a wrong phone number is front and center.

In many cases we catch the mistakes just before the work goes into production. If we misspell a word on a social network, usually we can delete and repost. But what happens when we totally miss it?

Enter New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Patrick Coffee of Media Bistro released this piece of information. Recently, the MTA raised its prices on single-fare and pay-per-ride subway cards. Of course, one would imagine, the news alone would upset the multitude of people that use the station every day. 

According to Coffee's report, the MTA communications team didn't check over the latest map. They released thousands of maps that included the wrong price on the PPR subway card.

The cost to fix it: $250,000.

One could say that the amount of money to re-print all of that isn't too big a deal. But the fact that they have to do it in the first place, because the team didn't spend an additional 5–10 minutes looking over the final draft and therefore costing the organization $250,000, is staggering. That's an additional marginal cost of $25,000 a minute. 

Not an error to take lightly.

There is a positive side to this — at least the organization is big enough that it can swallow a mistake like this, and no one on the communications team will be out of a job. Mistakes happen, but mistakes should never be the norm. Plus, the commuters will be more upset over the price hike than anything else, so this mishap will more than likely fly over pretty quickly.

We are in the business of communicating. Let's make sure to double-check our work.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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