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Columbia Missourian

DEAR READER: Jim Terry wins Show Me the Errors contest again

By Maggie Walter
January 4, 2011 | 4:35 p.m. CST

Jim Terry, a professor who teaches art history in the liberal arts department at Stephens College, is the winner of the December competition in the Show Me the Errors contest.

Terry was the winner of the October contest as well.


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We appreciate his continued participation in the contest, which asks readers of to join the editing staff in making the website as error-free as possible.

Terry was mostly absent from the November contest and most of the December contest, but he rejoined in late December with an out-all, full-throttle effort of 71 entries. Unfortunately, Terry couldn't be reached for comment before the deadline for this column. 

In second place was Del Koch with 30 entries. Koch, a program manager at ABC Laboratories, says he often reviews documents and reports and "enjoys proofreading." He often serves as a peer reviewer for the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a publication of the American Chemical Society.

Koch developed a love of reading at an early age, he said, and still savors well-written articles. He's new to the site, though, having switched to the free site after the cross-town competition,, began charging for access.

Entries dropped off sharply after the two leaders, but the overall number of participants hasn't dropped so much. There were 89 participants in October, 73 in November and 68 in December. Overall, there were 154 reported errors last month — mostly typos and erroneous punctuation.

You can join the effort, too. It's fairly simple. If you spot an error in an article on, go to the bottom of the story and look for the Show Me the Errors entry box.

The monthly prizes for those submitting the most corrections are a copy of "The Glamour of Grammar" by Roy Peter Clark and a Missourian coffee mug.

The upside to December's report is that no one caught us using a Christmas cliche, a points booster that would have netted 15 points for each entry from eagle-eyed readers. Tom Warhover, executive editor of the Missourian and related publications, upped the ante for December's contest by promising readers that they wouldn't have to read "lazy seasonal cliches." And, it looks as if we succeeded in fulfilling that promise.

On the downside, however, is that there are still entries in the Show Me the Errors contest. We welcome every entry, but the reality is that we don't really want there to be any reason for entry. We'll stay vigilant, but we hope you'll join us in the effort to create an error-free online publication.


Maggie Walter is a news editor for the Columbia Missourian and an associate professor in the Missouri School of Journalism, where she teaches copy editing.