Foot in mouth and other journalistic misadventures

16:00, Jan 03 2013

About this time 10 years ago, former Taranaki Daily News journalist Mark Birch exposed his "Funnyfile" to the region.

This "Funnyfile" was a collection of his colleagues' silly writings and sayings which he had compiled over two decades.

I read it recently and it was hilarious.

With a fairly sizeable quote file of our own, and a number of written bloopers which were fortunately identified before going to print, we felt it was only fair to follow in Birch's footsteps.

Naturally, journalists place the utmost importance on getting things right.

Generally they succeed, but now and again things are written or said that shouldn't have been (often under the pressure of a looming deadline).


The comments are often cheeky, insulting or crude, and the written bloopers have been known to change the meaning of a whole sentence.

Listed below are the sentences or quotes I felt were appropriate enough to share with you and, let me tell you, there were many that were not.


THINGS WE WROTE (and shouldn't have)

Tony Bird: Ekstreme is being stabled at the Randwick stable of trans-Tasman trainer Graeme Rogerson, where the horse is stabled.

Ryan Evans: Patients that present with diabetes or symptoms of diabetes are often pickled up when a cardiovascular risk assessment is being done.

Rochelle West: About 18 months ago, a fine root managed to find its way into the women's toilets - growing up into one of the toilet pans.

Lyn Humphreys: Mr Rosewarne said volunteers must be either male or female.

Yvette Batten: Mr Clark had been playing bowels for about 35 years and had never left any equipment at home before.

Leighton Keith: The equipment will not be in operation again until it has been fixed.

Murray Hills: Easton, who finishes on December 31, said there was never a right time to leave, but the time was right for him now to leave.

Leighton Keith: Two Taranaki off-licences are facing persecution after selling booze to minors.

Glenn McLean: 180 hours' community work on the threatening to kill charge and 160 hours' community work for possessing a fireman.

Jared Smith: The Round the Mountain route will involve the New Plymouth, Stratford, and South Taranaki districts in a 4.7km ride around the famous landmark, which would take about 90 minutes.

Felicity Ross: Lifeguards battled a viscous rip to rescue a 14-old-boy from Opunake beach last night.

Glenn McLean: The truth could not be further from the truth.

Murray Hills: Racing would either be in the harbour, or outside.

Witt (Western Institute of Technology) student: The event co-ordinators invite guests to bring some of their own orchids to sell at the show at no charge.

Leighton Keith: The 19-year-old Victoria University student disappeared last week after a night out with three fiends.

Tony Bird: All New Zealand provinces, including New South Wales and Queensland, will be represented.

Lyn Humphreys: While most knew of Puke Ariki, for instance, they might not know of Tawhiti Museum or the Fun Ho museum in Waitara (it's actually in Inglewood).

Krysti Wetton: Craig MacFarlane, who holds the liquor licence for the bowl, was responsible for the consumption of all alcohol at the site, she said.

Leighton Keith: Mr O'Keefe said alcohol was not a factor in the accident but everything else was.

THINGS WE SAID (then wished we hadn't)

"Give me a gun." Peter Bingham's response to a typical Gen-Y question: "When is Anzac Day?"

Jay Boreham talking about a planking photo: "You know, he's the guy who took the mountain up the barbecue."

Person on phone to Matt Rilkoff: "Get a Dominion and learn to be a real paper."

Peter Bingham: "How long does Conservation Week go for? I've had a gutsful."

Tony Bird describing the cricket ball used in a match against the Waikato Times: "Nipple pink, it was."

Matt Rilkoff: "Aren't there only about 12 kakapo?" Kirsty Johnston: "No. A dozen I think."

Robert Charles: "How is Ferdie spelt? With an f or a v?" Glenn McLean: "Get out of Taranaki, boy."

Kate Saunders on a Friday: "Bing, where's Barrett St hospital?"

Hannah Fleming during a newsroom debate about whether 2nds and 3rds should be included in school prize lists: "If you're not first, you're last. End of story."

Murray Hills at the suggestion he should make his own banana cake instead of waiting for his daughter to do it: "Why would I make it? That's like having a dog and barking."

Peter Bingham to Lyn Humphreys: "Humphreys, you stupid woman! You sent me my own number and I rung me up!"

Ryan Evans to angry reader: "We're just doing what we're told." Angry reader replies: "Why don't you do what you're not told."

Jonathan MacKenzie explaining the worth of a story: "It's interesting because they're real triplets, not turkey baster ones."

Alleged boy racer explaining car crash to cop: "Na I was like fully stationary till I started to move."

Peter Bingham checking his voicemail for the first time: "Where's Felicity? "Suzanne Porter wants her to call back last October."

Harriet Palmer: "What's a page 1 anchor?" Matt Rilkoff: "Steve (Anker) with his shirt off."

Peter Bingham: "What the heck is Bluetooth?" Murray Hills: "Who?"

A muddled John Anthony: "Matt has to use a shoe-horse to get his shoes on." Followed by: "Sorry I got confused because Matt has a shoe-horse on his desk." Matt Rilkoff replies: "That would be a horseshoe, John Anthony."

McDonalds worker to reporter: "What flavour chocolate shake would you like?"

Cliff Hunt discussing questionable material on the web: "If it's on the internet it's legal, right?"

Matt Rilkoff ecstatic about his new carpet: "That's what I'm doing on Friday night - some dry rubbing."

Photographer Cameron Burnell to Ryan Evans: "What's the deal with the sports awards tonight?" Ryan replies: "Go along, take some photos, come back to the office, process them, publish them in the paper tomorrow."

Jo Moir: "Does anyone know if Aria is the Maori name for Piopio?"

Rob Maetzig to Leighton Keith: "If you weren't so ugly, I'd kiss you."

Matt Rilkoff flabbergasted when Mark Dwyer was given a month's leave: "Mark Dwyer - he's got more powers than Jehovah!"

Kirsty Johnston: "I used to think menage a trois had something to do with meringues, but I was never sure what."

Ryan Evans talking about his alcohol preferences: "I like my rum dark. It's the way of the pirate."

Lyn Humphreys talking about a flurry of family get-togethers: "It's family, family, family in that order. Tomorrow I'll be covered in cousins."