My column last month on some of my journalistic pet peeves prompted a number of readers to share their own.

By Patricia Graham, Brunswick News obudswoman

My column last month on some of my journalistic pet peeves prompted a number of readers to share their own.

Harvey McLeod of Hampton doesn’t think I should champion spell-check.

“I have a relationship with the TJ that goes back to 1954 when I became a paperboy in Fredericton,” he wrote, “so it’s long been a part of my life and I want it to continue to be as good as it can be. And is.”

Mr. McLeod’s believes spell-check “is not a reporter’s friend” because it doesn’t catch certain problems.

“So instead of encouraging reporters and editors to use it, perhaps you should rein it in,” he proposed. “Or should that be reign it in, or rain it in, and buy them all a dictionary?”

His concern is echoed by Ron Jessulat from Bathurst, who noted that “the dependence on spell-check is not infallible…(h)ow many times have I seen the past of the verb ‘to lead’ being written as ‘lead’ instead of the proper ‘led’?”

Mr. Jessulat also complained about the absence of reporter email addresses at the bottom of stories, saying it leaves him with the impression they don’t want feedback from readers.

Robert Moore of Saint John wrote that my column saved him the trouble of writing a letter to the editor over this line from a story:

“Even in his mid-70s, local painter Norman Jackson still loves making people think.”

“The obvious implication”, Mr. Moore pointed out, “is that interest in making others think diminishes with age.”

In a similar vein, Judy Melanson said she shares my concerns about the use of “grandmother/father” to describe persons of a certain age.

“Logically,” she pointed out, “anyone over the age of 27 could be a grandparent,” adding that as an older woman she resents “being characterized as a grandmother as I feel the term seems to obliterate whatever educational or career achievements I may have obtained.”

I leave the last word on the topic to Maureen Trenholm from Fredericton.

“I also agree with your comment about the irrelevancy…(and) over-use of the terms ‘grandmother’ and ‘mom’.  Now that brings me to the term ‘elderly’. I myself am 82 years old, but do not particularly like the word ‘elderly’. I get irritated when I see people in their early 60's (or even older) often referred in this manner. It's my understanding that 60 is the new 50 according to social media!”

Reader Wilfred Patterson believes the term “veteran” is often misused.

“The word veteran,” he wrote, ”would denote long-serving or experienced.” He questions its use to describe people (usually police officers, he says) with only four, five or 10 years of service.

“What word could be used now to describe the officer with 35 years?” he asked.

“I thought I had seen it all when a few months past I read of a four-and-a-half year veteran!”

Joe Jones considers it “dumbing down” to use “moms” and “kids.” While these words can conserve space in headlines, I confess I too find them jarring when they show up in stories.

Mr. Jones is also, he says, constantly annoyed by the use of specific days of the week rather than simply “today.” I appreciate this may sound clunky, but as Telegraph-Journal digital curator Randy O’Donnell told me, there is good reason: most stories appear first online. So, for example, a Tuesday story setting up the next day’s Mill Rats game might say tomorrow, but if tomorrow appears in print it will be incorrect, referring to Thursday rather than Wednesday. The only efficient way to deal with such challenges and avoid mistakes is to use the actual day of the week.

Brad Janes, who used to be a reporter for the Telegraph-Journal, asked whether the newspapers use spell-checkers with human eyes.

“Too many of us who care about the printed product,” he complained, “have grown accustomed to typos, dropped headlines and other newspaper no-nos in the three dailies.”

Mr. Janes wasn’t alone in these concerns.

“The spelling in many of the articles is atrocious!” Paulette Boyd wrote. “Is there no proofreading anymore?” Ms. Boyd said she appreciates accuracy in news reports is of primary importance, but spelling and grammar errors still “jump right out.”

There are still proofreaders, and copy editors, but I’ve received enough of this sort of complaint that I discussed the matter with Patrick Brethour, editor-in-chief of Brunswick News, which publishes this newspaper. He pointed to some organizational changes in a couple of departments that are causing some systemic challenges, which he expects will be addressed soon.

Even with those changes, there will still be spelling mistakes and typos. You can’t publish so many words every day without some of them. The goal is to minimize them, and to avoid the big mistakes.

This column was published originally by Brunswick News and reprinted here with Graham’s permission.