Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Shame on the editorial page

A lot of school busesImage by wheany via Flickr

What's the big deal about advertising on school buses? After all, today's holy-than-thou editorial condemning the proposal is in The Record of Woodland Park, which is filled with advertising of all kinds, some of it exaggerated or deceptive.

The former Hackensack daily's food and business writers regularly turn out articles about chefs, restaurants and businesses that are so lavishly promotional you'd think the reporters were bribed. But you don't have to bribe some of The Record's reporters -- they write these veiled advertisements for free, with the support and encouragement of Editors Francis Scandale, Barbara Jaeger and others.

School-bus advertising could be a force for good, promoting Jersey Fresh produce in season, solar power, hybrid cars, mass transit, E-ZPass, low mortgage rates, food drives and so forth. It could urge voters to go to the polls, tell drivers about library programs and cultural events and .... Well, you get the idea.

But on A-10 today, Alfred P. Doblin, editor of the editorial page, is heaping shame on last week's state Assembly vote to allow advertising on school buses to help districts make ends meet. The Record says the proposal shouldn't become law.

Of course, Doblin himself is without shame -- writing or editing pieces that state the position of the newspaper on important public issues and then writing opinion columns that call into question his objectivity, such as his constant, lavish praise for Governor Christie. As far as I know, he is the first editorial page editor of The Record to write an opinion column.

The rest of today's paper is pretty boring. 

The media-generated crisis over a shutdown of road construction lasted less than one day, even though the story led the paper Sunday and has been on the front page two days in a row.

The Local section is another abomination from head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes.

Tweets on food from Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung can no longer be accessed from Second Helpings, the blog on northjersey.com. She told us about her cold paella for breakfast, straight from the container, and swooned over cupcakes and brownies.

It was disgusting and amusing at the same time. All we have left are tweets from Food Editor Susan Sherrill.
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  1. Score one for Eye on the Record! Obviously, either Ms. Ung reads this blog and was so embarrassed she beat a hasty, pardon the expression, retweet, or one of her supervisors -- the most likely scenario -- pulled the plug after reading the embarrassing details in your blog. I hate to say it, though, this morning I woke up craving cold paella for breakfast. I had to settle for a panful of ridiculous brownies.

  2. That's it. Gloves off.

    Sometime ago, a lawyer pulled together a class-action suit against EVERY car dealer in the state.

    The argument: This idea of having to pay 500 bucks for "licensing and registration" fees is ridiculous. The dealers don't have to "go through all the trouble" of getting the car tagged: The "runner" takes dozens at a time, and they even have their own DMV window....

    I thought it was a great story. I went into the afternoon meeting and pitched it hard for A1. Sc(hoolgirl)andale cuts me off, tells me to see him after the meeting.

    I go to his office. "You don't need me to spell it out for you, Jer, do you?"

    "Well, um, YEAH, Frank. I do."

    "Listen: If you wanna play with the big boys, you have to be able to make decisions like this."

    The "big boys"?

    "So where's the story going, Frank?"

    "Bottom of A3. Keep it really short."

    "To appease the car dealers?"


    "What about the public, the people, the poor slobs like us who are getting ripped off?"

    "They don't buy ads in our paper."

    This poor man's Stanley Tucci looked me in the eye with all the conviction of a man who'd gone to the crossroads and returned with a piddling job he'd have to hold the rest of his miserable life. Sh*t: How long did it take to get a seat on the board?

    I've been compiling the best of the behind the scenes. Got some doozies. And I ain't never signed no "non-disparagement" clause....

  3. Editor Francis "Frank" Scandale always seemed more loyal to the business side of the newspaper and the bean counters, while he turned his back on newsroom employees.

    Working with another non-entity, Doug Clancy, he denied us ergonomic furniture for years while The Record was still in Hackensack, and Doug even removed phones on the news copy desk, leaving two copy editors to fight over one phone.

    Combine that with Scandale's awful news judgment and you get him rolling over and playing dead during the biggest story of his life. Told it would cost "too much" to remake Page 1, he relegated Tom Franklin's unique, potentially Pulitzer Prize winning photo of the 9/11 flag raising to a back page.

    He'll never live that down.

  4. What the hell can you look forward to when you have paella first thing in the morning? Heartburn?

  5. Especially cold paella. The rice probably was congealed with oil. Ugh.


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