Can you spell ‘success’?

It was refreshing to observe the Marion County Spell Bee again this year. There’s something special about being among students who care about spelling and think it’s worthwhile to excel at it.

We work in a profession that cares deeply about words—how they are used, the nuance they carry and especially how they’re spelled. Accuracy is the cornerstone of good journalism. That means not only getting the facts right, but spelling the words right, too. Granted, we fail at both endeavors from time to time; when it comes to spelling, it’s usually because of carelessness in the rush to meet deadlines, not because we don’t care.

One of our fears in this age of texting and Twitter is that correct spelling is taking a hit. We understand why the abbreviated forms are compelling in those outlets, but we hear from teachers and professors that the habit is carrying over into formal writing, too. Young people, please know: Few things smack more of unprofessionalism in the workplace than careless spelling.

So, Marion County Spelling Bee participants, lead on. You’ve already got an edge in the game. —DR