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article image'Best Internet mistake of the day' goes to the Chicago Tribune

By Anne Sewell     Jul 31, 2013 in Internet
Chicago - Apparently it's now fixed, but for a while there on Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune had one big boo-boo on their home page. Cute kitten though.
Yes, they published a cute cat image. Above it, the words "Headline test." Surrounding it, the words... "Test, test, test, test, test, test, test..."
Brian Barrett of Gizmodo decided to find out how it all happened and contacted the Chicago Tribune Social Media and SEO Manager Amy Guth.
Gizmodo caught the Chicago Tribune out in the best Internet mistake of the day.
Gizmodo caught the Chicago Tribune out in the best Internet mistake of the day.
Screengrab of Chicago Tribune - Fair Use.
When asked, "When did you first notice that there was an unsanctioned cat on your homepage?" Guth responded:
"The digital editor at the helm of the site saw that our centerpiece was replaced with this ‘unsanctioned cat,’ and took it down immediately. This erroneously-positioned cat pushed down what should have been a story about the Chicago funeral of actor Dennis Farina, and sat beside several very serious stories including the judge ruling in the WikiLeaks case and the death of former US senator Harry Byrd Jr. It wasn’t our intention to make light of those important stories. We take the programming of our website very seriously, and we do regret the error."
Gizmodo then asked how long the mistake was actually up, to which Guth responded:
"A few minutes, in reality. The timestamp is related to when the content item is saved, and not when it was erroneously placed on the site. The digital editor on duty at the time saw the test story and took it down right away. We then sent a tweet letting our readers know everything was in order."
But those few minutes were enough for the Internet to capture that screen and spread it around. The Daily Dot says it was up for around 15 minutes. And come to think of it, on the screen grab it actually says "Updated 16 minutes ago."
Guth added that they were performing a routine test in their CMS, and that they normally use inoffensive and innocuous placeholder text and images when testing.
They then spent the time immediately following the incident making sure this doesn’t happen again.
Guth sent a tweet reading "Our bad! RT @Gizmodo: Chicago Tribune has made the best internet mistake of the day"
Amy Guth tweets about the ChicagoTribune s best Internet mistake of the day.
Amy Guth tweets about the ChicagoTribune's best Internet mistake of the day.
Twitter screengrap
When asked, "why a cat?", Guth responded:
"The photo is of a cat that had been featured in our “pets in need of homes” gallery, a photo gallery to which local animal rescue organizations submit photos to help their rescued animals find homes. This cat, Benton, is up for adoption, though I now understand he’s become a very popular fellow in the hours since the front page error. Perhaps our mistake will at least turn into Benton’s good fortune."
So all's well that ends well, and wouldn't it be great if the cat got a forever home through the mistake? Here is a link to the Petfinder website for Benton.
Nice to note that, "This tiny little macho man likes to be petted, but he doesn't have time for lots of snuggling - he's a ladies' man."
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