L’exprience AURA at Basilique Notre-Dame de Montral
Studying ballet as an adolescent turned out to be good preparation for a career in newspaper publishing. My Soviet-trained teachers taught me that “correction” is a good thing, evidence that the person proposing a change sees the possibility of improvement. Nothing bodes worse in dance class than to be ignored by the lady with the stick.
So, I was gratified to be on the receiving end of a flurry of feedback about last week’s first-ever Qubec Issue, which I organized. The first communication on Wednesday was congratulatory, from a friend who almost always reads the paper on the day it comes out. “Where do you get the energy?” he asked in an email. Over the course of the week, I received a few texts expressing similar sentiments mostly from people who had some inside knowledge of the effort required to land this thing.
It took a day or two before readers started to let us know what we got
from our secular misuse of the word “cathedral” to a “du” that should have been “de.” D’oh.
Seven Days
, we work hard to avoid errors. Two editors and two proofreaders pore over every story before the paper gets printed. But when filling an entire issue with content about another country, which uses a different language, one or two faux pas were bound to slip through.
Readers rarely put pen to paper, fingers to keys to rave without reservation. They write in to share their wisdom, and the first batch of signed letters to the editor in this week’s Feedback section was refreshingly informative.
A blogger from north of the border made a case that the English version of Montral should not have an accent. Ditto Qubec. It’s a valid point that will no doubt prompt a lively internal discussion of
Seven Days
“style,” which borrows from the Associated Press and other official language trendsetters.
A former Amtrak inspector let us know that, three days after our Qubec Issue hit the streets, the train between New York City and Montral along the west side of Lake Champlain stopped service north of Albany. Bad timing just like the wildfire smoke but at least the information was correct when we published it. And, as he was careful to explain, entirely the fault of the Canadian National Railway.
Yet another reader shared cautionary words about bringing poultry back across the border something our FAQ piece, titled ”
,” indicated was OK. She had thought so, too, until hers was confiscated, in May, on grounds it could spread avian flu. Her sound advice: “Travelers should take note to look up the border crossing website for foods that may recently have been prohibited.”
The angriest letter came from Michael Loris of Montpelier who took exception to our generic use of the word “cathedral” to describe a large church: the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montral. A “cathedral,” he points out, “is the principal church of a diocese, and the seat of its bishop. In Montral, Notre-Dame is a parish church, no matter the building’s cathedral-like dimensions.”
Loris is merciless: “When the first sentence of a lead story contains a gross error easily corrected these days by googling before going to print, should a reader continue or move on to the next story, hoping for actual facts?” he asks rhetorically. “Last week’s Qubec Issue begins with this sentence on page 13: ‘Basilique Notre-Dame de Montral transforms into a kaleidoscopic feast for the eyes … that draws on the Qubec cathedral’s rich history.'”
A correction to the correction: Those words appeared in an event write-up in the weekly Magnificent 7 feature not in a lead story. Both my introduction and the Qubec-focused “Last 7” page preceded it.
But you’ve got to love the fact that someone took the time to expose our sin in such vivid detail. These days they call it “audience engagement.” Keep it coming.
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Summer is upon us, and there’s no shortage of ways for Vermonters to connect, learn and have a good time. We’ve compiled seven must-do events, including L’exprience AURA, a multisensory display that draws on Basilique Notre-Dame de Montrals rich history.
By Emily Hamilton
Paula Routly came to Vermont to attend Middlebury College. After graduation, she stayed and worked as a dance critic, arts writer, news reporter and editor before she started
Seven Days
newspaper with Pamela Polston in 1995. Routly covered arts news, then food, and, starting in 2008, focused her editorial energies on building the news side of the operation, for which she is a regular weekly editor. She conceptualized and managed the Give and Take special report on Vermonts nonprofit sector, the Our Towns special issue and the yearlong Hooked series exploring Vermonts opioid crisis. When shes not editing stories, Routly runs the business side of
Seven Days
overseeing finances, management and product development. She spearheaded the creation of the newspapers numerous ancillary publications and events such as Restaurant Week and the Vermont Tech Jam. In 2015, she was inducted into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame.