Drastic Typos Call For Creative Measures

Ed Pierce with daughter and grandson i i

hide captionEd Pierce, 88, with his daughter, Rebecca Cole and grandson Scott Cole. Pierce began working at The Miami News in 1950.

StoryCorps
Ed Pierce with daughter and grandson

Ed Pierce, 88, with his daughter, Rebecca Cole and grandson Scott Cole. Pierce began working at The Miami News in 1950.

StoryCorps

Ed Pierce started working for newspapers in their heyday in the 1940s — a time unlike today, when problems in the industry are hitting hard in places like Denver and Seattle.

Pierce, who started working as a photojournalist and rose to be a managing editor, tells his grandson Scott Cole the story of putting out The Miami News' hurricane section — something "very important in Miami," he says.

The double truck, or two facing pages in the newspaper, featured a large map of Florida and the surrounding islands. Some of Pierce's colleagues pointed out that there were about eight instances on the map where the names of the islands were incorrect — but 500,000 copies of the paper had already been printed.

"They all were throwing up their hands, and then I came up with probably my greatest achievement as a managing editor," Pierce says. "I sat down and wrote a story and I said, 'We, today, have a hurricane section, and we are going to give a prize of $100 to [the person] who can find the most mistakes.' And the son of a bitch found six more mistakes than we thought we had."

"I love the idea of getting out a paper every day. I've never put out a newspaper that I couldn't have done a better job if we'd have had another two hours," he says. "So I don't think a newspaper was ever complete, because news is never complete."

Pierce, who retired from journalism at the (Sarasota) Herald Tribune in 1985, says that in his 88 years, he's learned "that it's best to not give advice. I think each person has to live their own life, make their own decisions. But I would say, if I were going to give it, is to work hard and work for a purpose and not necessarily for money, but for the pleasure of the job you do, and try to enjoy it after you have done it."

Produced for Morning Edition by Katie Simon. The senior producer for StoryCorps is Michael Garofalo.

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