Saturday, December 18, 2010
Who is harness racing's rabbi?
Image by grover webb via Flickr
Does Editor Francis Scandale love going to the track? How about Staff Writer John Brennan, whose sentences rattle, roll and ramble? I know Local News Editor Jim "Corny" Cornelius and News Copy Desk Slot Vinny Byrne love the horses, but those two have no pull with Scandale.
Harness racing leads The Record of Woodland Park again today, as if racing rabbis Scandale and Brennan think readers are sitting on the edge of their seats for word of its fate. And the fate of New Jersey Network -- the only in-state source of televised Jersey news -- is relegated to Page A-3, again, instead of making the front page.
The headlines on the main, A-1 element fail to communicate immediately how violent a suspected purse snatcher allegedly was and the lead paragraph fails to clearly state bags were snatched from a moving SUV. The phrase "purse snatcher on wheels" would have worked well in the headline and the lead, but it doesn't appear until the continuation page, A-8.
Chief withholds report
In Local, head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and Staff Writer Joseph Ax continue to allow Teaneck Police Chief Robert Wilson to manage release of information on the death of Officer John Abraham nearly two months after he died in his police cruiser, which went violently out of control and slammed sideways into a telephone pole across from headquarters (L-3).
Abraham wasn't wearing a seat belt in his Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor -- a car with a long history of safety problems -- but Wilson refused to release a copy of the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office accident report or the autopsy results.
Blast from the past
For a change, there is a lot of local news in Local today, but of particular interest on L-3 is the byline of Staff Writer Joseph Gemignani. He wrote a story about how Tenafly was in the early 1900s, when residents in the rural village raised animals and grew their own food.
(That was long before Publisher Stephen A. Borg, who lives in a $3.65 million Tenafly mansion he bought with a company mortgage, folded the Food section.)
In the mid- to late 1980s, the veteran journalist worked at night in the Hackensack newsroom in the menial job of layout editor. When Gemignani wasn't at his desk drawing lines on his layout sheets, he could be seen at the copying machine -- his face expressionless, his life draining away -- the embodiment of the paper's age-discrimination policy.
Gemignani spent more than 15 years at The New York Times before returning to what is now North Jersey Media Group. It's not known whether Gemignani is on The Record staff or working at one of NJMG's many weeklies.