Confusion, Communication, Resultion

There was a glaring mistake in The Record Argus this morning. One that I hope does not create too much confusion. This is the second time in the past two weeks information has been inaccurate. I understand mistakes, I have made plenty of them. This isn't just about getting a number wrong. It is also about the perspective. I am not expecting the paper to write from what I consider a favorable perspective every time, but I am going to take this opportunity to share mine. 

Today's headline:

BOROUGH MEETS TAXPAYER RESISTANCE ON SANITARY AUTHORITY PLAN.

The glaring (for me) mistake is this:

BOROUGH MEETS TAXPAYER RESISTANCE ON SANITARY AUTHORITY PLAN.

The meeting was actually not about the sanitary authority at all. NOT AT ALL. The public hearing on the creation of a stormwater authority meeting was about a STORMWATER AUTHORITY. 

So the headline should have read:

BOROUGH MEETS TAXPAYER RESISTANCE ON STORMWATER AUTHORITY PLAN.

Why does this matter? It matters because there were only 20 residents/property owners present at the meeting. The public at large is depending on a clear recap of the evening. This mistake, unfortunately, doesn't clarify, it confuses.  

Last week when the paper reported on the public concerns over road paving, it mistakenly reported that the capital needed for the road improvements amounts to $3 million. That was in black in white. That is not what was said at the meeting, that is not the true amount. The actual cost of improving the roads, as it stands, is closer to the $11 million mark. Why does this mistake matter? It matters because $3 million is far more attainable and therefore does not correctly paint the picture of our current situation. 

Now, how about perspective. The headline read:

BOROUGH MEETS TAXPAYER RESISTANCE ON SANITARY [SIC] AUTHORITY PLAN.

It reads that way because it sells more papers. An alternate headline as such would garner less interest, even though I feel it better describes the evening.

BOROUGH LISTENS TO TAXPAYER CONCERNS ABOUT STORMWATER AUTHORITY CREATION.

Headlines are strategic. I just wish it at least said stormwater authority and not sanitary. I actually quite enjoyed the article and felt it fairly represented the evening. I just hope that people read it in its entirety. 

Why are these mistakes harmful. It's salt in the wound of a larger problem that our culture is suffering from. Communication. We don't know how to talk to each other anymore.

The public hearing on the creation of the stormwater authority was rife with misinformation. How do you correct misinformation? Through better communication. Through letting people speak. Listening. Digesting. Then if clarification is needed, you clarify. Maybe questions were asked that you don't have the answer to. Now you have homework. If an apology is needed, then apologize. If forgiveness is needed, then forgive. If further discussion is needed, then discuss. 

Not everyone agrees with me, but I thought last night was good. Helpful? Maybe not entirely. But last night was a chance for communication. People want to be heard. Council, for the most part, listened. Isn't that what we want from government?

Ever since my time as an exchange student in Germany in 2004-05 I have understood the importance of communication. I struggled to truly communicate for most of the year. That left a long-lasting impression.

If I could sum up the cause of any major problem, whether it be at work, in life or whatever, it always comes down to poor communication (or maybe no communication).

You cannot come to a favorable resolution without communication. You also can't fix a problem that you don't know is there because it has never been communicated to you.

LET'S KEEP TALKING TO EACH OTHER!

Get through the discomfort, put aside the anger, don't take it personally. Speak. Then listen. Then speak. Then listen.

I covered a lot here, but I hope it makes sense. Hey! I want to hear from you. Comment below↓

*The title of this post has been changed. Parts of the original post have also been changed by removing some uses of the word misinformation.