|Tight deadlines can lead to mistakes|
|Written by Robert B. Larson - Publisher|
|Friday, 05 March 2010 10:53|
We all make them.
Thank God, it would be just awful if everyone was perfect. Especially with so many viewpoints from so many varied people with different backgrounds.
It is even worse when your mistake gets in print for all the world to see.
This was the case on one of our main stories on Page 1A last week by our city reporter Michael Maresh.
Michael inadvertently thought the Sedona City Council had passed a motion for the Arizona Department of Transportation’s standard Cobra head streetlights for State Route 89A.
In fact, they had actually decided on accepting ADOT’s proposal to offer them 35-foot Monterey style lights.
As soon as some of our loyal readers noticed the mistake, we changed the story and put it up on our paper’s Web site, redrocknews.com.
This is one advantage of having a daily forum for us to reach our readers, rather than waiting two or five days to run the correct story.
There are many reasons that the story ran wrong.
The main one is that we had scheduled Michael to cover both the Sedona City Council meeting and the Sedona Fire District’s board meeting. Both these meetings were held on Wednesday, Feb. 24, and ran a total of 10 hours.
This led to a very long 16-hour workday for Michael and then to make matters worse, he had three stories to write on deadline on Thursday morning for Friday’s paper.
He basically got caught up in the animosity and anger that came forward at both meetings that night.
The use of the word “rape” by one of our City Council members became a big focal point of his story on the lights. He had never seen such an outrageous use of the term in his 15 years of reporting.
The city councilman basically attacked ADOT during their presentation to the council and was very offensive in both his attitude and remarks.
By the time the final vote had come down with numerous votes on various issues, Michael actually thought the council had indeed voted for the standard ADOT lights since it originally was going to cost the city extra money for the nicer lights and the council didn’t want to do that.
In reality, ADOT had offered the city the 35-foot Monterey lights at no extra cost since they had found another $500,000 in their budget to install this type of lights.
Again, I am not making any excuses for Michael nor this newspaper.
I just felt we needed to clear the air on this huge mistake in our paper and give our readers a little insight into how things can get misconstrued in the “heat of battle” that erupted at the recent council meeting.
That is one of the reasons I encouraged a balanced approach to selecting our new council and hope that people understood my stance.
All the residents of Sedona deserve a council that represents all of us and maybe these outbursts will be a thing of the past. Hopefully this will help our reporters and this newspaper eliminate future mistakes.
However, as I said in the opening, we all make mistakes and we definitely strive to provide the most accurate reporting that we can in our stories to our readers.