Thursday, May 5, 2016

Editors boring us with same old stories week in, week out

Paramus police and the borough's emergency medical technicians responded this morning to CityMD, a walk-in urgent-care center on Route 4 east. A woman was taken out of the building on a gurney, above. Paramedics from Hackensack University Medical Center rolled up after the Paramus units.

It's not known how many patients walk over after eating too much Louisiana-style spicy fried chicken at the Popeyes next door. One spicy chicken breast contains 45% of the recommended daily intake of saturated fat and 34% of the recommended amount of sodium.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Manhattan-bound commuters continue to scramble for rush-hour seats on NJ Transit trains and buses that cost more to ride because of Governor Christie's deep cuts in state subsidies.

But Editor Deirdre Sykes is ignoring all of that to bring us a boring "analysis" on why rail unions are looking for a better deal than in a contract proposed in March (A-1).

And a sub-headline saying a strike is unlikely is an instant turnoff to commuters, and the vast majority of readers, who don't take mass transit.

Dwight Morrow

Today, the only break in the heavy coverage of national and state politics, and the future of Atlantic City is another story about Englewood's failing public high school (A-1).

The photos on Page 1 and A-10 seem to suggest a tutoring program at Dwight Morrow High School was aimed only at Latina students who were at risk of not graduating.

For a decade or more, Sykes hasn't assigned any stories on Englewood's elementary and middle schools, where 99% of the students are black or Hispanic.


Hackensack police refused to say whether any of the drivers were charged after this two-car collision on Tuesday morning at Prospect Avenue and Clinton Place in the city's Fairmount section.

Police news

Sykes and Managing Editor Dan Sforza couldn't put out a local-news section without plugging holes with lots of police and court news, and news about the police.

Today, Staff Writer John Seasly has yet another story about who is running the Hackenack Police Department, while ignoring the rest of Tuesday night's City Council meeting (L-2).

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

News taking a back seat to politics, restaurant promotions


The front page of the Daily News. Philip Affuso of Ridgewood wrote a letter to the editor of The Record today, predicting the Republican Party, with Donald Trump at the head of the ticket, will meet "a crushing defeat in the general election" and may also lose control of the Senate and House (A-10).


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

The front page of The Record today reflects the media's obsession with politics and sensationalism instead of news.

The idiotic Associated Press story splashed all over Page 1 describes Donald Trump as "a political outsider," not the hate monger who has rallied millions of racists to his cause (A-1).

Now that the two parties' presidential nominations appear to have been decided, what will The Record and other news media write about until the November election?

When Governor Christie dropped out of the GOP race and threw his support to Trump, every major New Jersey daily except The Record called on him to resign.

Should we expect an avalanche of boring columns from Staff Writer Charles Stile -- one of the governor's biggest boosters -- analyzing Christie's chances of becoming Trump's running mate for hate?

Newark murder

The headline over a follow-up to the murder of a white college student, who lived in off-campus Newark housing, uses two words from Christie's reaction, calling the death an "extraordinary tragedy" (A-1).

Editor Deirdre Sykes assigned four reporters to work on the story, as if minority Newark residents don't die in robberies or drive-by shootings nearly every day thanks to a police force that is unable or unwilling to protect them.

The story never explains why Joseph Micalizzi's life is worth any more than those unnamed victims.

Sykes and her gullible reporters also swallow Christie's B.S. that the slaying is "an extraordinary tragedy, not only for this university's community but also for us as a state and for me as a father" (A-6).

His son is graduating from Princeton, so how is the Micalizzi murder a "tragedy" for Christie? 

Local news?

After weeks of coverage, the big local news today is the suspension of Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox, who allegedly condoned racial profiling in a 2014 email (L-1).

North Jersey's home-rule communities seem to have their fair share of bad police chiefs, led by Hackensack's Ken Zisa.

Yet, The Record took no interest in the Zisa family's new political initiative, Team Hackensack, which backed two of the winning candidates in the April 19 school election.

'Hamilton' and Paterson

The Broadway musical "Hamilton" may have been nominated for 16 Tonys, but does the show touch on Alexander Hamilton's role in setting up the nation's first planned industrial city that later became Paterson, known as "Silk City" for all of the mills that were powered by the Great Falls?

Readers have no clue from today's coverage on the Better Living front (BL-1).

The editors also knock themselves out promoting the return of Park & Orchard, an Italian-American restaurant in East Rutherford (BL-1).

But readers might be experiencing sticker shock, with pasta dishes priced at $22 to $29 -- more than at many restaurants in Manhattan. 

Chef is out

And why should readers care about the employment problems of Adam Weiss, who left as executive chef of Due, an Italian-American restaurant in Ridgewood (BL-2)?

Weiss is best remembered for advice that sent many readers' blood pressures soaring, even if they weren't watching their intake of sodium as recommended by American Heart Association:

When he was working at Due, an overweight Weiss mocked using only one teaspoon of salt per gallon of pasta water.

"No," he insisted in a September 2014 interview with The Record. "It has to be salted like the ocean, because when you drain it you want the salt to adhere to the pasta."

What nonsense. Many home cooks don't even salt pasta water, knowing the sauce they use already has plenty of sodium.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

No longer Page 1 news, Christie vetoes are going uncounted


Two cars collided at Prospect Avenue and Clinton Place in Hackensack this morning, above and below. The car on the left smashed into the driver's side of a Honda sedan, pushing it onto the sidewalk.  Was one of the drivers speeding? Or did one of them run the stop sign? Tune in tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion.



By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

More than six months ago, The Record's editors reluctantly disclosed how many vetoes Governor Christie had executed since he took office in early 2010:

Christie's dictatorial rule by veto

That story soon was outdated, and the number of Christie vetoes has soared past 450, surely setting a record for any New Jersey governor.

Today, the GOP bully's vetoes are no longer Page 1 news, even when they involve gender pay equity.

Nor does Staff Writer John C. Ensslin bother to update the tally (A-3).

Student slain

Today, the front page reports that for the second time in a month, a college student living in off-campus Newark housing was fatally shot:

"There is no getting around the fact that [Rutgers and the New Jersey Institute of Technology] are located in a transitional neighborhood in a crime-ridden city," Staff Writer Patricia Alex says.

Fatal shootings in Newark are an almost daily occurrence, so why is this one on Page 1 and the rest of them either buried or unmentioned?

Local news?

You know there is little news in Local today when the section leads with Bergen County freeholders holding budget meetings with 18 department heads (L-1).

Although The Record hasn't covered Hackensack schools for more than a year -- or is it two -- there is a detailed story on a repairs to a  parking lot at Pascack Valley High School on L-3 today.

Mother's Day

Clueless freelancer Kate Morgan Jackson of Upper Saddle River is urging women to eat as much unhealthy food as possible on Mother's Day.

Her brunch recipes include gelato, sugar, heavy cream, bacon, ham and full-fat cheeses (BL-1 and BL-2).

Second look

Travel Editor Jill Schensul must have been desperate when she accepted a proposal by Staff Writer Kara Yorio to write Sunday's cover story on the charms of the Jersey Shore.

Talk about damning the shore with faint praise. 

Few readers will stick with Yorio, who finally comes around to prizing her time at the shore after she lands a job at the Asbury Park Press in her mid-20s, but that isn't mentioned until deep on the continuation page.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Page 1 focus on minorities recalls discrimination of the past

A poster on the shuttered New Jersey Naval Museum in Hackensack, above, and the beached gangway that once gave visitors access to the USS Ling, below. The World War II sub is stuck in the mud of the Hackensack River, and tied up to property owned by North Jersey Media Group, publisher of The Record. 




By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Positive images of Native Americans, Muslims and African-Americans in North Jersey appear on the front page of The Record today in a rare focus on minorities.

The stories recall past instances when the editors marginalized those groups.

Ford pollution

The Record's 2005 series -- "Toxic Legacy" -- won journalism awards, but did little to prove Ford Motor Co. waste -- first dumped in 1967 -- was sickening and killing members of the Ramapough Native American tribe in Ringwood.

And in 2010, The Record urged the Ramapoughs to settle their lawsuit against the automaker for $12.5 million, allowing the lawyers to grab the lion's share of the money, and pay 633 adults and children only $4,368 to $34,595 each.

Today, the Woodland Park daily reports borough residents want to hold a referendum to kill a plan to cap 166,000 tons of contaminated soil in favor of removing it (A-1).

Still, the first reference to the Ramapoughs on Page 1 today is a mean-spirited description of their "low-income neighborhood."

Crime stories

Less than a decade ago, an African-American would have to be charged with a serious crime to land on the front page, unless the editors were running Black History Month stories.

Today, the funeral and burial of Teaneck Mayor Lizette Parker, 44, is Page 1 news, including a moving tribute from a Muslim councilman who once was part of a coalition that spurned her (A-1).

Still, The Record continues to ignore the hard-working, God-fearing Jamaican-American community in Englewood, Teaneck and Hackensack unless one of them is involved in gun violence or drug dealing.

Silk City Syrians

After the November terrorist attacks in Paris, Governor Christie wanted to bar Syrian refugees, even children, from New Jersey.

The editors' response took more than a week, but they finally published a positive story about Syrian merchants in Paterson decrying the governor's stereotype.

Today, Muslim leaders in New Jersey are quoted as "reacting warily" to an FBI plan to "cut terrorism off at its roots," as the headline states (A-1).

Still, The Record is the only major daily in the state that failed to call for Christie's resignation after he endorsed GOP presidential front-runner, Muslim hater and racist Donald Trump.


The USS Ling in a photo taken a week ago.

Local news?

Just one look at today's Local section tells Bergen County readers they won't find much news about their towns today.

On L-1, they find an enormous weather-related photo, and another column on the test for a learner's permit.

On L-3, a "Monthly News Quiz" wastes an enormous amount of space, and four major stories in the section are from Passaic County (L-1, L-2 and L-3), further cheating Bergen readers.

Healthier eating

In today's Better Living profile, Susan Ungaro of River Vale says she want the James Beard Foundation "to help move the needle on important food policy issues" (BL-1).

Celebrity chefs "can teach America how to eat better and be healthier and be socially conscious about important issues," says Ungaro, president of the culinary arts foundation.

Sadly, Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung, the reporter who wrote the profile, and Record Food Editor Esther Davidowitz don't see any part for journalists in that mission.

What else can readers conclude from Ung rarely telling them whether the food she samples is naturally raised or grown, and her obsession with meat and artery clogging desserts?

Meanwhile, Davidowtiz fills her food pages with promotions of restaurants, bakeries and other businesses that advertise in The Record.