Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hurting the newspaper's credibility

Omissions -- intentional or otherwise -- damage the credibility of The Record and everyone associated with it, from its wealthy, young publisher to its low-paid news clerks. In newspaper lingo, these are called "holes."

Leafing through Tuesday's paper, I found an editorial on Page A-10 that urges residents of Woodland Park to vote next month to change its name back to West Paterson. No mention is made of The Record having moved almost all of its staff out of Hackensack to a building in Woodland Park, where its sister daily paper, the Herald News, is located, and to other offices. Right now, it's The Record of Woodland Park, but could become The Record of West Paterson.

On Page L-10, in business news, there's no mention in the Start-Ups column of whether the sea salt being promoted contains iodine, a necessary nutrient.

On Page L-11, also in business news, a story about rapidly declining newspaper circulation devotes three of the 10 paragraphs to The Record's circulation figures and what Publisher Stephen A. Borg says the paper is doing to bolster daily and Sunday circulation, which determines the rates the paper can charge advertisers. What's not mentioned is that circulation figures listed for The Record include the Herald News, which was made an edition of The Record a few years ago to bolster the then-Hackensack daily's dramatic drop in readership.

In the Better Living section, on Page F-1, 2 and 3, a staff written story on Jewish deli maven David Sax and a so-called 15-minute pork-chop recipe from the Chicago Tribune fail to discuss whether any of the meat was raised on factory farms with antibiotics, growth hormones or animal byproducts (bits of dead animals and kitchen scraps), or whether the hot dogs contain preservatives linked to cancer.

Shameless plug: The Record's food coverage rarely mentions these matters, but you can find them discussed extensively in my other blog, "Do You Really Know What You're Eating" at blogspot.com.

Coming soon: Did The Record blow a Pulitzer Prize on 9/11?

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