2019 in Review: Stuff-ups even in the modern age

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With all the checks and balances of the modern era, one thing remains clear: if humans are involved, stuff-ups will occur, which is why one of the buzzwords of this year and the next will be reducing human touchpoints. The 2019 print industry showed why.

Corker: Daily Telegraph publishes Sydney Morning Herald pages
Corker: Daily Telegraph publishes Sydney Morning Herald pages

Among the more serious were data breaches. Data on some 30,000 customers of online print giant Vistaprint, which only sells through the web, was found floating in cyberspace, among them 800 Australian customers. Vistaprint says the financial details were not there, just names and addresses.

Similarly, customers of Aussie online design website Canva had their data hacked – although in this case the numbers were on a different scale, with some 140 million users affected. Again, the company says no passwords nor credit card details were accessed or taken. Canva is a remarkable success story, with the portal started by Australian woman Melanie Perkins six years ago, and now worth $1bn. It has just raised $100m for further expansion.

As printers become increasingly involved with data, these events serve as a warning to printers not to scrimp on data security.

And in news that will cause typographers and sub-editors all over the country to wince, the Reserve Bank had a typo on 46 million of the new $50 notes, with the word responsibility incorrectly spelt. The notes have a value of $2.3bn, the RBA decided to ride with it and not recall them.

Getting a word wrong is bad enough, but the Daily Telegraph published several whole wrong pages earlier this year, leaving its readers choking on their cornflakes, wondering if the normally populist title had changed direction and moved to the leftie greenie side of politics, which it is more usually blaming for the world's ills. The new press sharing arrangement with the Sydney Morning Herald saw several pages of the former broadsheet printed into the Tele.

Populist politicians like to bang on about patriotic behaviour, but Clive Palmer came undone when it was pointed out his election banners were printed in China. Similarly, the Greens were revealed to have had theirs printed on a cheap, and environmentally unfriendly, substrate – and in the ultimate insult, the NSW Liberals had their battle bus wrap printed in Queensland.

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