Thursday, November 26, 2009
A lot of paper to recycle
The most important story the incompetent, lazy editors could find to put on the front page was one about shopping -- par for the course since The Record spent a considerable chunk of money in an unsuccessful bid to get Sunday blue laws repealed. A story reporting a bigger state budget gap gets shoved inside. Doesn't that minimize its importance, despite the Page 1 tease?
There are three mentions in the paper, including on the front-page, of the increased demand for free food from pantries, but the Borg family has never fully acknowledged publicly how it contributed to the recession by ending North Jersey Media Group's highly profitable commercial printing, laying off more than 50 press workers, merging The Record with the Herald News, and shedding an unknown number of newsroom and advertising staffers, while capping severance pay at 12 weeks.
Nor has anyone calculated the impact on the Main Street economy of Hackensack, where The Record was founded in 1895 and prospered for more than 110 years, before the Borgs moved printing of the two papers, the main newsroom and hundreds of workers out of Bergen County -- months ahead of a schedule that appeared in a Business section story quoting Stephen and Jennifer Borg, the siblings running NJMG.
Don't worry. The recession hasn't seemed to hurt the family of Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg, NJMG chairman. I can just imagine the Borgs gathering for Thanksgiving today in Stephen's $3.65 million Tenafly mansion, bought with a mortgage from Dad's company, as was his previous, $2 million home.The turkey dinner the paper once bought for newsroom workers on duty today is a distant memory.
Hibernating reporter Giovanna Fabiano emerges from her den to report in the Local section today that the Libyan ambassador to the U.N. is expected to move into the Englewood mansion Libya bought in 1983. There were only six stories about Englewood in the paper in August -- and five of them were about Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. A story about adoption of a new master plan for Englewood -- of far more interest to the vast majority of residents -- gets only brief mention today.
These stories about the Libyans are designed to push readers' buttons and it's clear the editors hope to divert attention from the shameful job they are doing covering local news in Englewood, Hackensack and Teaneck. They also are driven by two men, Pay-To-Play Englewood Mayor Michael Wildes, a relentless self-promoter, and Shmuley Boteach, a wealthy, publicity-hungry rabbi who didn't seem to have a problem buying a mansion next door to the Libyans, but went ballistic when Gadhafi said he intended to stay there in the summer. Then, curiously, several weeks later, a long, promotional story about Rabbi Boteach's new book about pop king Michael Jackson appeared in The Record.