Thursday, December 3, 2009

Look for real news elsewhere

New York City Anti-War DemonstrationImage by Grant Jun Otsuki via Flickr

Readers learned many, many years ago not to judge the most important news of the day by the front page of The Record, the local newspaper that banned one-town stories from Page 1. For example, you'd never know New Jersey and its towns are facing a severe financial crisis by how Governor-elect Chris Christie jumps onto and off of  the front page.

Today, half of Page 1 is devoted to those hopeless hoopsters, the Nets, whose move to Brooklyn couldn't come soon enough. Maybe the airhead reporter who wrote this garbage, John Brennan, will get a job as their publicist and follow them.

Have you ever seen anything like Pages A-6 and A-7, referred to in the newsroom as a "double truck"? The stories literally wrap around a Macy's ad, as if it's part of the news layout. I've lost count of how many nights Nancy Cherry, my supervisor on the news copy desk in Hackensack, used to leaf through the paper, right off the press, and say of the expensive, full-page ads, "Thank God for Macy's, thank God for Macy's."

Desperate for news about Hackensack, the lazy, incompetent editors in Woodland Park assigned Staff Writer Monsy Alvarado to cover an anti-war demonstration at the Bergen County Courthouse and then splashed the story all over the front of the Local section. You'll also see Englewood and Teaneck datelines in today's section, but no educational or development news from those three, ethnically diverse towns.

Reporters who write about town employee benefits or promotions aren't really covering their communities. Do Alvarado and Staff Writers Giovanna Fabiano and Josepeh Ax ever talk to residents or do they merely collect and rewrite press releases? Another way reporters at The Record of Woodland Park try to look busy is by writing endless infrastructure stories, anything to avoid reporting on residents' concerns or quality of life (see L-3 and L-5).

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