Provo » The phone call Rich Evans got Monday morning wasn't good news.
It was an employee at Brigham Young University's The Daily Universe , where Evans is the editorial manager. There was a typo on the front page.
"It was the worst possible mistake," Evans recalled.
The error? A caption on a photo from this weekend's LDS General Conference stated that "Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostates and other general authorities raise their hands in a sustaining vote Saturday morning. ..."
The newspaper staff retrieved as many of the 18,500 copies of the paper as possible and reprinted them with the correction. And it issued an apology to the apostles. The staff also explained how it happened: an error in spell-checking.
It started when a student misspelled the word "apostle" when writing the photo caption. When the caption was put through the editing software's spell checker, it was flagged, and the editor accidentally clicked the first word that came up on the correct list: "apostate." The mistake made it past two proofreaders before being sent off to the printing press.
"It would have been worse if it were done intentionally, as some have thought," Evans said. "But after talking to the people, we found it was an innocent mistake." He said one of the students involved was in tears over it.
A story on the Universe's Web site stated this was the first time in more than 30 years that the paper had to trash an edition. Evans said the staff will be implementing efforts to prevent a recurrence.
"This appears to have been an honest mistake," said BYU spokeswoman Carri P. Jenkins. A church spokesman declined to comment.
Student journalists aren't the only ones to make mistakes in print. Last week, The Salt Lake Tribune misidentified LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson in a headline. It identified the LDS leader as "Gordon Monson," the same name as a Tribune sports columnist.