Sunday, January 24, 2010

The amateur hour


One lavishly-illustrated Page 1 story today is nothing more than a series of strung-together quotes from Jets fans that was probably written a few days ago, before airhead reporter John Brennan left for Indianapolis. Two "filler" stories in the Local section -- one about bears, the other about changing the archaic freeholder title -- are promoted on the front page.

Do reporters at The Record of Woodland Park write more stories about bears and deer than about the people of Hackensaack, where the paper was founded in 1895? It seems likely they do, and I'm sure head Assignment Editor Deirdre "Laughs A Lot" Sykes promotes the hunting stories as "local news." You can just hear her honeyed, chuckling voice importuning the hapless layout editor about the "cute" photo of a bear she has in her bag of tricks.

Seal of Passaic County, New JerseyImage via Wikipedia
Meanwhile, you'll search in vain for news of Hackensack, Teaneck, Englewood and many other Bergen County towns, as the news-coverage focus shifted long ago to the west with the the move of the former Hackensack daily to Passaic County and printing of the paper to Morris County. More evidence of that is the entire half page devoted to the schools superintendent in Paterson. And the obituary of a Tenafly native who battled a brain tumor would have been a far better choice for the bottom of L-1 than a "Newstracker" item on the delay of a civil trial.

In Business,  shame on Your Money's Worth Columnist Kevin DeMarrais for equating his mysterious French traffic violation with red-light cameras being installed in North Jersey. DeMarrais joins Road Warrior Columnist John Cichowski in dissing the cameras, without acknowledging violators are sent a photo of their vehicle and license plate. DeMarrais wastes precious space on his own selfish interests, rather than asking state officials about the bureaucracy homeowners have to fight to get solar panels installed, a two-year-plus process.

Teterboro AirportImage via Wikipedia

And when will Business reporters stop writing such promotional stories? The owners of a charter-jet company at Teterboro Airport that caters to the rich are never even asked to address the tremendous noise they generate, impacting the quality of life for residents of Hackensack and other towns. The multimillionaire owner of the first Smashburger franchise in North Jersey is allowed to boast about the "quality of the meat" he serves without backing that up with details. The truth is his meat probably comes from cattle raised on antibiotics and growth hormones, and fed animal byproducts -- bits of dead animals -- to boost his bottom line.

In Better Living, readers are denied consumer-oriented stories about restaurants and getting our kids to eat healthy food, in favor of stories about the home lives of chefs and owners planning their second restaurants. It turns out the "culinary pros" really don't know anything more than you or I about kids' eating habits, and the restaurant owners column is pure promotion, one in a long series by Elisa Ung, who is supposed to speak for restaurant-goers.

NEWARK, NJ - JULY 27:  New Jersey governor Jon...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

In Opinion, tired Columnist Jersey Mike Kelly fires new salvos at Jon Corzine's single term as governor, but ignores how the state Legislature and the pay-to-play and home-rule systems blocked much of what he wanted to accomplish.

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  1. Just getting this straight:

    You sued the Record because they considered you too old.

    Yet, you assail the Record's columnists because...they're too old.


  2. I couldn't agree with you more about Kevin DeMarrais' ridiculously self-serving column about the French traffic violation. If anything, it might have been a good way to point out the huge costs rental car companies swallow when drivers zip through EZPass lanes with no transponders, although that issue might already have been resolved since it's a couple of years old.
    I must point out, though, that the other day, when John Brennan was only able to find one Jets fan in Indianpolis, he noted that the Jet fan's wife was a graduate of Hackensack High School. How's that for in-depth coverage of education coverage in one of the Record's three once-core towns?

  3. No. That's not correct. I'm attacking the paper for having twice as many older male columnists as older women columnists.

  4. You know, Aaron, I missed that reference to Hackensack High. Boy, that Brennan is sharp.


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