Saturday, December 11, 2010

Black, white and red all over

The justices of the New Jersey Supreme Court a...Image via Wikipedia
In this 2007 photo of the New Jersey Supreme Court, standing are Associate Justices Roberto Rivera-Soto, left, and John E. Wallace, second from right. Wallace left in May.

I can't imagine a more embarrassing -- and suspect -- omission than The Record not reporting on Page 1 today that the New Jersey Supreme Court justice Governor Christie got rid of in May is African-American, and was the only black on the high court.

In fact, it's not until the next to the last paragraph on the continuation page (A-8) that Staff Writer John P. McAlpin names the associate justice who Christie refused to renominate in May, sparking  charges of racism, especially because a white woman was nominated to replace him. 

McAlpn, who is no novice, violates the basic journalism principle of supplying background in every story, including this one on Associate Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto protesting a temporary replacement for John E. Wallace. 

It's certainly relevant that Wallace, the former associate justice,  is African-American, and that critics think Christie was motivated by racism.

Are we to believe that head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes' shrieks of laughter mixed with snores from the news copy desk as this flawed story was processed Friday night in the Woodland Park newsroom, and no one noticed the glaring omission? 

Fie on minorities

Where was Editor Francis Scandale, whose own record on newsroom minorities is so poor? He got rid of the paper's only black columnist, Lawrence Aaron, and its only Hispanic columnist, Miguel Perez. Were they the Wallace and Rivera-Soto of The Record?

The top-of-the-page, A-1 headline blares:

High court in turmoil

Of course, that headline perfectly describes The Record's turmoil under Scandale, Publisher Stephen A. Borg and big sister Jennifer A. Borg, vice president and general pain-in-the-neck counsel of North Jersey Media Group.

The spoiled Borg siblings have put their father, Chairman Malcolm A. Borg, out to pasture as they run the paper into the ground, while dreaming of making a killing by selling the old headquarters and all that land on River Street in Hackensack -- maybe even unloading NJMG itself. But I digress. 

Counterfeit writing

Boy, I'll bet readers didn't expect their 50 cents would buy them a primer on counterfeit money -- the biggest element on A-1 today. The clunky lead paragraph by Staff Writer Deena Yellin says "towns and cities" have "seen" a sharp rise in bogus money "passed across merchants' counters."

In Local, you'll find the non-fatal-accident-of-the-day photo on L-3, but not much municipal news, certainly nothing from Hackensack,  Englewood or lots of other major towns. You will find plenty of police and court news, though.

Bill Pitcher news

Better Living has no food news of any kind, which may be a good thing considering the irresponsible, raw-meat recipe Food Editor Susan Leigh Sherrill gave readers on Wednesday.

Bill Pitcher, her predecessor, is now city editor at The Leader-Herald in Gloversville, N.Y., a small daily newspaper in the Adirondacks where he also reports and writes stories. 

Pitcher, who is about 35, rejoined The Record in June 2006 and left in August. He had been handpicked by Scandale and Features Director Barbara Jaeger from a field of food editor candidates with far more experience. 

Pitcher found Food Editor Patricia Mack a really tough act to follow. 
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  1. How far they fall.

  2. Same guy? That's a long way to go for a job.

  3. Anybody would have found Pat Mack to be a tough act to follow. If the "how far they fall" comment is a reference to Pitcher, he's at least practicing community journalism now, something the Record was founded on but has failed miserably at the last few years. There are more important aspects of journalism than salary, again, something the management at the Record doesn't have a clue about.

  4. Bill Pitcher moved to the Adirondacks to help take care of his father-in-law, who was seriously ill. I believe he was raised in the region as well.

    I took the "how far they fall" comment as a reference to the Borgs.


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