Saturday, February 9, 2013

Now, the Road Warrior can't read a map

Readers are wondering whether The Record's lazy editors again will shrink from rating towns on how well they do cleaning up from Friday's nor'easter, and ignore bus stops buried in snow and property owners who don't shovel their sidewalks. That forces pedestrians to risk their lives by waiting or walking in the street.

Editor's note: Road Warrior John Cichowski's inability to read a calendar has been evident from recent columns that stated incorrectly how much time had passed since Superstorm Sandy. Now, in his Friday column on blasting to remove an old highway overpass, Cichowski blew it again, claiming the work is occurring at Routes 3 and 17. In fact, the interchange is Routes 3 and 21, as the following e-mail from a concerned reader makes clear.

"More Road Warrior incompetence and clueless mistakes explode in his Feb. 8 column in The Record about ongoing detonation and construction work for the Route 3 bridge over the Passaic River.

"One of his foolish reporting mistakes is so big it made it onto with the headline, 'Suffering through the Noise at Routes 3 and 17.'

"Sadly, this detonation-construction work is actually taking place at Routes 3 and 21, and nowhere near Routes 3 and 17.

"This mind-blowing mistake got through the copy desk even though The Record reported on Jan. 31 that explosion work on the bridge was "stopping traffic on Routes 3 and 21."

"If ever there was a colossal, bone-headed misstatement of fact by the Road Warrior that cries out for a correction, this is it. 

"If The Record management has any integrity, it would require this correction to appear in an upcoming Road Warrior column rather than hide it on A-2.  Road Warrior needs to publicly update his readers about his latest example of wrong-way reporting."

Read full e-mail

To read the full e-mail on  the Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers, click on the following link:

John Cichowski: 'What day is it? Where am I?' 

Houlton and Sykes

Coincidentally, on Friday's A-2, Editor Marty Gottlieb published three corrections of a graphic and two stories that ran last Saturday and on Wednesday and Thursday.

Gottlieb may not be able to solve the age-old problem of reporters and columnists making mistakes on deadline.

But he can certainly insist that his six-figure production editor, Liz Houlton, enforce the high standards of accuracy, fact-checking and writing the paper's copy desk once was known for.

Of course, an even more fundamental problem is the attitude of head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes toward the copy editors, who have been marginalized for decades.

The six-figure, full-figure Sykes has never promoted a copy editor to work on her assignment desk, and often holds breaking news stories as long as possible to thwart any attempt by the copy desk to fix fuzzy writing and factual mistakes on deadline.

In other words, to preserve the way she and her minions edit a lead paragraph or the body of a story, she gladly sacrifices accuracy.

In fact, copy editors long have been warned about making any changes in the all-important first paragraph of a story without getting the permission of an argumentative assignment editor.

This has resulted in a dead-end copy desk of mostly older, unhappy workers reduced to the role of headline writers.

And a daily newspaper that has become known as a laughing stock for sloppy journalism on a high school or college level. 

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