Wednesday, December 29, 2010

'I'm so bored with this blizzard already'

Snow removalImage via Wikipedia

"When was the blizzard over?" head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes said to no one in particular at Tuesday afternoon's news meeting in Woodland Park. "I'm so bored with it and all these people complaining about glacial snow removal. Get a life, will ya?

"I mean," she said, stopped by her own laugh, "Monday's paper badly low-balled the estimate of how much snow would fall, and today's front page [Tuesday] was upbeat, looking forward to warmer temperatures. 

"But don't readers appreciate how all those vignettes turned their drab suburbs into a bootiful winter wonderland?

"I'm so glad The Record moved out of Hackensack," she went on, "where employees did such a shitty job of clearing the parking lot, you remember, I fell and injured myself trying to cross a snowbank."

Well-padded editor

Several sets of eyes focused on her face, framed by another one of her incredibly ugly hair styles. These layout editors were the lowest on the totem pole, and they detested this woman who seemed to hold onto power in the newsroom year after year despite her legendary laziness and her "pets," who did nothing. 

They thought to themselves, "Yeah, we remember how you flopped on your ass, but you were probably saved from serious injury by all that padding. Yet, you still took how many weeks off?"

Sykes continued, "OK. Let's talk about education, gas prices, airport delays on the front page tomorrow [Wednesday] -- anything but residents bitching about a tickets blitz to get them to dig their cars out or uncleared sidewalks and streets. What do you think, Frank?"

Editor Francis Scandale: "Sure, Deirdre. Can we get a sports photo on the front again?"

Burying minority news

Way back on A-17 today, a wire-service story from Miami reported the deaths of five teenagers, who were overcome by fumes from the running engine of a car they parked in a garage under their motel room. 

Given better play, the story could have been instructive to new drivers unaware of the dangers of a running engine in a confined space. Oh, the teens lived in Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood, and Scandale probably thought they weren't worth mention near the front.

A day late -- again

Many other newspapers gave voice to residents' frustration and anger Tuesday over the slow pace of snow removal, but The Record comes to the party a day late -- with two stories on the front of Sykes' Local section today.

Impassable side streets and limited mass transit were evident Monday and Tuesday, too, but Sykes and her minions (D. Sforza, R. Whitby, C. Joseph, et. al) were too lazy to notice. Why were trains keeping a holiday schedule Tuesday? "Due to continued weather conditions," the L-1 story reported on the jump page, L-3.

From Englewood, Staff Writer Giovanna Fabiano reports private contractors were brought in by the city to supplement city cleanup crews. She probably got that by phone, so you won't read anything from her about the hundreds of boot prints left by nannies, maids and other workers on the unshoveled sidewalks in front of multimillion dollar mansions on North Woodland Street.

And no reporter seems to have ventured out to Routes 4 and 17, where mounds of snow at the exits of retail parking lots block drivers' view of oncoming traffic and make entering roadways a white-knuckle leap of faith.

Road Warrior Columnist John Cichowski -- long clueless on what makes a readable column -- today writes about rock salt (L-1).
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