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Welcome home, Esther

A newspaper without a proofreader is like a tightrope walker with no safety net
Lead Summary
Lori Sorenson, editor

Our Esther Frakes arrived back in Luverne last week after galivanting through the southern United States with her friend Betty.
It sounds like she had a grand time, and as such, probably didn’t miss us at the paper.
We, however, missed her dearly.
Esther is our proofreader, which is a humble term for the person who makes the news department look better than we are.
She catches misspelled names, misplaced modifiers and mistaken assumptions resulting from poor math or inattention to details.
She counts survivors in obituaries. If someone is “lovingly remembered by eight children,” eight names had better follow in the list.
If there’s a discrepancy in Petersen, Peterson or Pedersen, she’ll get to the bottom of the intended spelling and family relation.
Even though her name doesn’t appear in the story byline, Esther owns a mistake (if one sneaks past her) as if it were her own. “I can’t believe I missed that,” she’ll say about an error that was clearly the fault of my own.
And we are deeply grateful for her countless contributions to our weekly production.
As she combs through the news stories, sports briefs and submitted columns, she initials the files to signal they’re ready for print.
There are few things more satisfying on press day than a folder of documents neatly labeled “(ef)” next to their file names.
When Esther’s in house on press day, we feel more at ease, much in the same way a tightrope walker feels about a safety net.
We don’t plan to make mistakes, but they can and do happen, and Esther’s there with her trusty red felt-tip pen to catch the error before it’s published.
As Mavis put it, “Esther’s like a warm blanket. It’s comforting when she’s there for us.”
We are fortunate to have smart and capable people on the Star Herald office team to help us proofread the past couple of weeks in Esther’s absence. They caught many errors we were grateful to correct before publishing.
Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that we were engaging in risky behavior.
So, dear readers, thank you for overlooking errors (recent or past) that may have found their way into our pages.
Despite modern technology and autocorrect, the paper is still only as good as the humans who operate it, and humans are only human.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: This is the most humbling job you’ll ever find. An error in the Star Herald is printed and distributed in 3,000 paper copies and archived for decades of future reference. There are no do-overs for mistakes in newspapers.
… unless Esther finds them before they’re printed.
Welcome back, Esther.
Thanks for making the paper better in print and for making our office a better place in general.

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