We hate to make mistakes, although they certainly do happen sometimes.
Last week, for example, we accidentally had two versions of the same court briefs written in different ways — and they both got in the paper. That was my fault. I proofed the page they were on and totally missed the similarities.
@charleywest the August 1, 2013 Police & courts section is a bit repetitive.
— kevin berry (@kevbar1977) August 1, 2013
At least sometimes we give readers a chance to question whether we’re awake. But we really do try to catch these things. It’s just that we’re usually trying to process a large amount of information all at once in an environment that’s more like a police dispatch center than a library — all on a daily deadline.
That’s why we have the fish.
Everybody needs a motivational tool, and the fish is ours. Actually, it’s more of a reward — a wooden fish that goes to the person who makes a big catch.
The fish made its debut under the reign of Becky Calwell, who was our news editor for many years. She got it from her husband Ben and brought it to the newsroom.
That fish once belonged to Ben Calwell. I brought it to work to give out to the copy editor who made the “best catch.” I’m sure I stole that idea from someone. I went to a copy editing conference one time in Baltimore. Maybe that is where I got the idea. I’m not sure how we decided who received it, but we all recognized a really big catch—something that would have been really embarrassing or even libelous had it gotten in the paper. I never really liked when it was staring at me either!
The fish reward has continued under our current news editor, Ashlee Maddy.
Becky bequeathed him to copy desk when she left, so we could continue the tradition. The winner of the best catch displays him on their desk until the next best catch, at which point we say, “Great catch! You get the fish!” I also find his appearance slightly creepy, but love what he represents.
Good eyes! You get the fish!
Second day on the job and I’ve been awarded a fish for making a good “catch.” Get it? pic.twitter.com/yfJbCRhEct
— Whitney Humphrey (@W_HumphreyWV) July 29, 2013