Friday, October 23, 2009

Abandoning River City

Several years ago, The Record slowly began moving out of Hackensack, the city where it was founded in 1895. First, it shifted the printing of the newspaper from River Street to a press building it owns in Rockaway Township, a 60-mile round-trip.

Then, top managers and editors began merging the staffs of The Record and its sister publication, the Herald News, another daily, assigning virtually all of them to a building on Garret Mountain, in Woodland Park; a newsroom in Rockaway and offices of the weekly newspapers published by the North Jersey Media Group (NJMG), owner of the two dailies.

But Malcolm A. Borg, the ailing chairman of NJMG, whose father and grandfather ran The Record before him, still keeps his office in the mostly empty, four-story brick building in Hackensack; he has to drive only 6 miles to reach his home on the East Hill of Englewood.

The daily and weekly newspapers are now being run from Woodland Park by his spoiled children, Jennifer A. Borg, general counsel and vice president of NJMG, and Stephen A. Borg, Record and Herald News publisher and NJMG president. Readers have never been told of the printing and staff moves.

Moving the printing of  The Record to Rockaway forced NJMG to give up one of  its biggest profit centers: printing other newspapers, including USA Today. But it allowed the company to lay off more than 50 press workers. It also ended a tradition of rushing the first edition up to the Hackensack newsroom, where copy and news editors could read the paper, find errors and fix them. Thus began The Record's precipitous slide in quality, which continues today.

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