Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cranking up the P.R. machine

Nissan Leaf at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show (LHD).Image via Wikipedia
The all-electric Nissan Leaf uses no gas, but The Record prefers to publicize a new Chevrolet plug-in hybrd. The Leaf can travel much farther on electricity than the more-expensive Volt.

The Record of Woodland Park really cranks up the public relations machine today for Hackensack University Medical Center -- one of its big advertisers -- only to tell readers who slog through all that type it is being run by many of the same people whose actions led to a "damaging" federal corruption trial.

I couldn't identify the trial mentioned in the lead paragraph on Page 1, because convicted former state Sen. Joseph Coniglio was sentenced more than 15 months ago, and his name doesn't appear on A-1. 

So the rest of the story by Staff Writers Mary Jo Layton and Lindy Washburn basically sums up how little has really changed in more than a year at the huge hospital campus, which dominates a once-quiet North Hackensack neighbrhood. 

Ridgewood v. Hackensack

It's curious how Layton -- at the behest of head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and her clueless minions -- has written far more about neighbors protesting expansion plans of The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, compared to how little The Record has reported about similar protests over the expansion of HUMC. 

What's so irresponsible about that is the Ridgewood hospital wants to expand within existing borders, while an unknown number of houses have been torn down to make room for a parking garage and more buildings at this behemoth of a medical center in Hackensack. 

There's not a word about the neighborhood in today's takeout.

And it's only on the full continuation page (A-8) we learn that Jennifer A. Borg, vice president and general counsel of The Record's parent company, North Jersey Media Group, has been moved to an advisory board to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Still, NJMG is allowed to profit from her hospital relationship by selling hundreds of thousands of dollars of print and online advertising to HUMC.

Wasting space on a crackpot

For the second day in a row, Editor Francis Scandale wastes precious front-page space on a right-wing radio talk-show host convicted of threatening three federal judges. Let's hope they throw away the key.

150 mpg is no joke for Volt

I'm not sure what this headline means on L-1 -- over John Cichowski's Road Warrior column -- but it's increasingly clear Chick is the joke. 

He is the latest staffer to err in calling the new Chevrolet sedan an "electric" vehicle, when the plug-in hybrid needs gas for the conventional engine that backs up its batteries and electric motor.

And in keeping with his poor reputation for accuracy and completeness, he also doesn't answer an obvious question: 

Why has The Record published at least three photos of the Volt -- two of them showing customers picking up the new car -- but none of the all-electric, no-gas Nissan Leaf, which has a battery range of 62 miles to 138 miles, compared to the Volt's 35 miles?

Another screw-up 

If you turn to L-6, the continuation of Chick's column, you might have trouble finding it: The word "Stile" (Staff Writer Charles Stile) appears instead of "Road." I guess the Road Worrier is not well-liked by the layout or news copy editor who put the wrong word there.

Page L-3 carries the fourth story in six days on tenants returning to the Prospect Avenue high-rise in Hackensack where the parking garage collapsed five months ago. There is a lot more going on in the city that is never reported by the former Hackensack daily.

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