Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bringing hope to readers?

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI - JANUARY 21:  In this h...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Haven't we read all of this before or seen it on TV? By covering most of  today's front page with an account by Staff Writer Joseph Ax and Staff Photographer Tariq Zehawi from Haiti,  is The Record of Woodland Park trying to tell us this is ground-breaking journalism?

Is there anything new here or is the paper merely trying to justify the expense of sending staffers there -- more than two weeks after the quake hit? One reason the photographer was sent there is that he speaks French. What qualifies the reporter, who has done only a so-so job covering Teaneck?
Haiti - search and rescueImage by IFRC via Flickr

The real story on the front page is Governor Christie's transition team urging him to curb the power of the Department of Environmental Protection, just as the other Christie -- then-Governor Whitman -- did during the recession of the early 1990s.

Whitman's move against the DEP finally awoke editors at The Record, including Deirdre Sykes, who had engineered wildly favorable coverage of the Whitman administration.

City of Jersey CityImage via Wikipedia
In Local, story datelines include Wayne (2), Pequannock, Paterson (2), Clifton and Jersey City (photo), but none for Hackensack, Teaneck, Englewood or many other important Bergen towns. Is this what marketing wizard and Publisher Stephen A. Borg calls "The Trusted Local Source"?

I guess he expected readers to believe him when he put that  motto under the masthead on Page 1, just as he expected employees to believe him when he told them at their first meeting in 2006, "I'm not in this for the money." It seems he doesn't consider the $3.65 million mortgage he got from his family's North Jersey Media Group to buy a Tenafly estate to be "money."

Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin is sartorially correct, but he has been far from editorially correct, failing to take the U.S. and other countries to task for the frustrating lack of coordination during the humanitarian crisis in Haiti. Nor has he compared the responses in Haiti and in New Orleans after Huricane Katrina.

Today, on Page O-2, editorials on the Meadowlands and holding the 9/11 trial in Manhattan fail to see the perfect solution:  

Urge the U.S. to build a huge courtroom to try the terrorists at Xanadu, jump-starting the economy of the Meadowlands with hundreds of millions of dollars in security spending. After the trial, shoppers can sit in on live hearings five times a day in a People's Court at the shopping-recreation complex.
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