I’ve been tasked with coming up with a correction for a mistake (not mine) made in the sub-headline for my story on the Maya. In that story, I debunked the myth of the so-called Mayan prophecy that the world would end December 21st.
The sub head said “The world likely won't end December 12” when I think the copy editor meant to say December 21 – the date certain fringe elements have been pushing as the next doomsday.
We definitely can’t go with the standard correction format, which would lead to this: “A headline in yesterday’s story on the Maya incorrectly stated the world likely will not end December 12.” That might cause some needless alarm.
How about this: “The Inquirer incorrectly listed December 12th as the day the world would not end. The world will not end on December 21.”
That’s not quite right either. How about something more specific: “The Inquirer yesterday incorrectly listed December 12 as the day the Maya did not predict that the world would end. The Maya did not predict that the world would end on December 21.” I don’t think that works either and it's an oversimplification, since the archaeologists say the date for the Mayan calender event that will not end the world is probably closer to the 23d, but the new-agers like the 21st because it's the winter solstice, which adds cosmic drama to the end of the world that wasn't really predicted by the Maya and probably won't happen.