Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nothing special on this Sunday

Bombardier BD-700 Global 5000 takes off
The Sunday edition of The Record once was special, but when you take a look at today's paper, you'll search in vain for news of your town's municipal affairs, especially if you live in the core towns of Englewood, Teaneck and Hackensack, the paper's home for more than 110 years. This from a newspaper that had been long praised for its local news coverage.

The Local news section is a measly six pages. This saves newsprint, but cheats readers. If you need evidence the editors and reporters didn't generate enough local news, take a look at how big they ran the photo on Page L-3 with the continuation of a stabbing story, which leads the section. The photo, of cops with evidence, is clearly filler, to take the place of stories that were never assigned or written.

On Page 1, the main element is a long story on how Boy Scout troops are searching for more Hispanic recruits. This reminds me of a time at The Record when it was unlikely a minority would get on the front page without committing a major crime.

That's not as exaggerated as it might sound. Early in his tenure, Editor Frank Scandale had to order municipal reporters to find and write a non-crime story about minorities in our circulation area at least once a month.

After virtually ignoring for at least two years how the food she writes about has been raised or grown, restaurant reviewer Elisa Ung has a column on the Better Living front today listing places that serve organic items, wild fish or meat and poultry free of antibiotics. She lists five eating places in all of North Jersey.

This past Friday, her restaurant review displayed no such sensibility. She is an inconsistent voice for the consumer. She has spent far more time obsessing over the quality of desserts she has encountered in her reviewing and feature stories.

The Record could be of even more service to readers by listing supermarkets that sell this kind of food, but that might run afoul of the drive for advertising revenue.

Kudos to Your Money's Worth columnist Kevin DeMarrais, one of the experienced staffers who wasn't shown the door during restructuring of The Record and Herald News in 2008. On the Business section front today, he tells readers how they can cut their home-heating oil and gas bills

Unfortunately, the business news staff has so far ignored the fleet of AIG  jets at Teterboro Airport, among the noisy aircraft that have such an impact on many Bergen County residents' quality of life. It would be interesting to know how much the company wastes on the fleet after helping to bring the economy to the brink and then taking billions in federal bail-out money. If all the AIG executives flew commercial, it might help revive the airline industry.

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