Monday, December 27, 2010

'Unforeseen problem' delays delivery

Ground blizzard conditions in Ontario. HWY 26 ...Image via Wikipedia

"Due to an unforeseen problem, the delivery of today's paper will be late."

That's the message I heard this morning around 8 when I called the 201 number I usually dial if my paper is missing, wet or late (201-646-4444).

Does "unforeseen problem" refer to the depth of the snow that fell  most of Sunday and overnight? A front-page story in The Record of Woodland Park on Sunday predicted a blizzard.

Were there problems with the presses in far-off Rockaway Township? The Mercedes-Benz  trucks that haul the papers back to Bergen County? 

What about the rag-tag crew of independent home deliverers, whose cars and trucks test the limits of the vehicle-inspection regulations?

I remember when my hometown daily newspaper was put together by reporters and editors in a Hackensack newsroom and printed in the same building. Then, the first legible copies -- the so-called good copies -- were rushed upstairs and pored over for typos, bad headlines and other problems, and fixes were made as soon as possible.
What a concept.

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  1. Unforeseen problem. That's funny

  2. It could actually be a reference to the blizzard.

  3. Johannes Hofer introduced nostalgia, or mal du pays "homesickness," for the condition also known as mal du Suisse "Swiss illness" or Schweizerheimweh "Swiss homesickness," because of its frequent occurrence in Swiss mercenaries who in the plains of lowlands of France or Italy were pining for their native mountain landscapes. Cases resulting in death were known and soldiers were sometimes successfully treated by being discharged and sent home. Receiving a diagnosis was, however, generally regarded as an insult.... excepting here, of course.

  4. You copied that from Wikipedia very well, Jerry D.

    Victor, few newspapers in the area are produced in the same building as the newsroom anymore, so while your complaint (you seem to be repeating the same ones over and over but your lonely whining is still fun to read) may not be unreasonable, let's not make it out to be that The Record is the only paper that prints in another building.

    The New York Times, Post and Daily News are printed elsewhere. Maybe Newsday, too. The Star-Ledger and Jersey Journals are printed off-site, as are all of the Gannett papers. Even heading north, the Journal News, Poughkeepsie Journal and Middletown Record are printed elsewhere.

    Oh, and these Mercedes Benz trucks that you write about as if they're some kind of luxury -- do you know how old they are? About as old as your son. And much older than your marriage.

  5. The Mercedes-Benz trucks may not be a luxury, but I'd like to know how much fuel costs went up with the move of printing to Rockaway.

    Sure, Stephen Borg was able to dump 55 press workers, but he also sacrificed the cash cow of commercial printing.

    A valid complaint remains valid as long as it is not addressed.

  6. Yeah, that is pretty much plagiarism, JD.

    And from Wikipedia, no less. LOL.

  7. Do any of the other papers printed off-site also neglect to proof the first copies off the press?

    So many of the mistakes that land in my driveway could be caught with effective proofing of the actual paper.

    Mistakes "pop out" when seen in their natural context -- on newsprint -- whereas proofing on a computer screen often is ineffective.

  8. "Plagiarism from Wikipedia" proves how out of touch print people are with the world that is. Can't plagiarize the Wik, genius. That's the point of it. If that's the best you got, no wonder you can't find work elsewhere.

  9. I'm pretty sure the Poughkeepsie Journal doesn't send a member of its staff on a three-hour round trip to Rockaway to check it when it comes off the presses.

    There are other ways of seeing the pages without holding the pages in your hand (I'm not talking about proofs) but you've been gone for years so you wouldn't know that.

    And Victor, while you can pine for the days of the old in-house press all you want, the paper needed a new press. Remember the nights they had trouble on weekends and couldn't even get the paper out. Oh, wait, you didn't work weekends. Never mind.

  10. What a great editor JerryD must be, if he thinks it's OK to for journalists to cut-and-paste without attribution. Jerry DeMarco, ladies and gentlemen. Give him a hand.

  11. I think the decentralization of printing, news gathering and so forth has been a total disaster. Stephen Borg may think he is economizing, but productivity of most of the news staff has plummeted, along with morale. The same can be said for the accuracy and credibility of the paper.

    You would have been laughed off the news copy desk I worked on if you dared try to pass off all the dull heads, all the inaccurate head, all the laughable captions I see in the paper these days.

    I've lost count of all the days I worked when there were press problems with the original color presses in Hackensack, but moving the printing of the paper to Rockaway was the wrong solution.

    Again, as I tried to say earlier, proofing a page on a computer screen is no substitute for going through the finished product. You don't "see" errors on a screen as well as you do in the paper.

    Isn't there someone in the Rockaway building capable of reading a good copy, and fixing errors? Or does nobody give a shit?

  12. Fact is nobody gives a shit. You don't need to read copies off the press or even on paper when a good (i.e. non burned out or overworked) pair of eyes can catch even the tiniest of typos on the screen. But the current staff of the Record is overworked and burned out, or just doesn't give a shit, take your pick.
    That said, older than Victor's marriage, hoo boy, it looks like the gloves are coming off in the rock em sock em commentary section. Are you gonna take baloney like that, Victor, or are you going to demand to know what the cows were raised on that that baloney comes from. Or does baloney come from cows?

  13. You can't plagiarize Wikipedia, Jerry?

    Who says? Show me one even semi-reputable source that says so. For the purpose of this exercise, you can even plagiarize that source if it makes you comfy.

    Of course you can plagiarize Wikipedia. You can't break copyright law maybe, but certainly it's plagiarism if you cut and paste without attribution.

  14. Anonymous: I'm a reader commenting on a blog here, not a publishing writer. I can swipe Harry Potter whole cloth here & it wouldn't matter. This is a blog, a unique form of media. Apples & oranges.

    The fact that you're not aware of that, or of what Wikipedia is all about, lamentably speaks to my very point. Surrender the pedantry, please, and maybe you'll hear it.

    Bemoaning your "loss" is less time spent in the here and now. It turns you into an autoworker instead of the multi-skilled pro that you are. The people who made VCRs didn't fold their tents. Neither did lots of other people in dying industries.

    "Change only brings more problems," the councilman played by Kevin Nealon on "Weeds" said. It was his campaign slogan in running for re-election. Funny, too -- only it's not true. Change brings opportunities ESPECIALLY for those with word, image and other communications skills.

    The world's not getting dumber but sharper. Problem is: People who run certain newspapers aren't keeping up.

    You, for instance, have an ARMY of weekly reporters & photogs who are treated like second-class citizens. Why? Because they didn't go through what you went through. Because they don't have "daily experience."

    They're boots on the ground, unlike the clueless eyes-on-the-monitor/phone-in-the-ear drones you have. They KNOW the people in their towns. They're TRUSTED. If anyone in management had half a brain, they'd use these COMPANY-PAID resources to bring readers comprehensive local coverage under one kick-ass umbrella.

    NEW SLOGAN: "We're up the ahole of Bergen. Have a look."

    Honestly, if The Record is fulfilling Corey Feldman's mission (does look like him, doesn't he?), then he's an even bigger dunce than he acts. I mean: The weekly reporter gets all the detail, the color, and yet Will Lamb or Bautista has to independently produce a separate story -- forbidden from using any of the material ALREADY OWNED BY THE PARENT COMPANY -- when either could be using his particular skills to produce ADDED VALUE.

    Yeah, I'm crude, rude, inappropriate, blunt, tactless, you name it. But I'm loyal to the people who are good to me, I defend them to the death, and I don't suffer toxic types easily.

    For two years, I've lived out here in the real world, where the answer isn't to lament -- or tear down -- but to find paths to success.

    Maybe it's by building a website... and landing an adjunct post at a college that makes ALL of its media classes interdisciplinary... and taking on freelance assignments rebuilding websites, editing newsletters, and more.

    I don't know who you are, but if you think you're safe, that newspapers are somehow going to withstand the march of time, that the product produced by your division isn't going to be sold or folded sometime soon... well... then I REALLY don't wanna fight with you.

    I mean that, sincerely.

    Get over it already. Own your destiny. I'M not your enemy.

  15. What makes you respond so? Why so pedantic, vitriolic? It's a beautiful life, dude (or dudette). All too short, unfortunately, but beautiful nonetheless.

    Don't hate me cause I'm happy....

  16. To the Anonymous who said "you don't need to read copies off the press," you either never worked at a newspaper or you're a moron.

    I spent years in the composing room of The Record, and I can tell you errors "pop" in the paper -- the same errors proofers overlooked on the board.

    Today, with full pages available on a computer screen, all the errors I see in the paper are missed completely by the proofers. What's the explanation for that?

  17. The explanation is simply a lack of focus on the proofer's part. The page proof has gone the way of many other luxuries in the scorched earth of cost cutting (and no, I didn't get that from wikipedia, but anon ought to quit ragging on Jerry who's been kicking the Record's ass while the Record keeps taking and getting credit for stories he breaks).
    And Mister Vicipedia, I'm neither a moron, although some at the Record might disagree with that assessment, and I have spent more than a few afternoons in a newsroom, but I can understand your assessment. I of course would love to see papers off the press but it ain't gonna happen, not even if the cost were made up by a few more layoffs. Not even if Steven Borg were to move his family into a trailer and return that 3.7 mil to the company coffers. There's no stopping the runaway train of progress.
    Of course there is one cost effective alternative. The Record could have proofreaders in Bangladesh eyeball the pages on screen. They'll be less distracted by discussions of who's screwing whom around the office or who's next to be unceremoniously ushered out of the office, and would probably catch more typos than your average off the press page proofer. They'd probably write better headlines too.

  18. From your lips to Stephen Borg's ears.

  19. Who would feel that periodically publishing a story before the Record does, while the Record posts 100 stories to his one, is "kicking the Record's ass"? Oh, right, himself.

  20. I don't know. Jerry often has stories The Record won't touch because of vested interests or other hidden motives.

    No one should expect him to have 100 stories a day. He represents quality over quantity.

    The Record represents a scatter-shot approach that almost always misses the mark, especially with Francis Scandale, Deirdre Sykes and that tired lot in charged.


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