Sunday, January 30, 2011

Please do the math for readers

The Counties of North JerseyImage via Wikipedia
The counties of North Jersey, most of which The Record ignores.

When is The Record of Woodland Park going to stop doing public relations for the banks and the real estate industry and shatter the myth of "rock-bottom" mortgage rates? The phrase appears again on Editor Francis Scandale's front page today in a major story on how North Jersey homes are even less affordable than they were 10 years ago.

Staff Writer Kathleen Lynn is one of the best reporters on the staff and she's explored many aspects of buying and owning a home. But I wish her editors would urge her to do the arithmetic and spell out -- especially for first-time home buyers -- just how much interest they'll be paying over 30 years.

The number is huge, and nearly doubles the cost of the house. What's so rock bottom about that? No bank is doing you a favor. And home owners who refinance their homes several times at a lower interest rate get smaller payments, but also end up paying a lot more in interest and for a much longer period than the initial 30 years.

Take a deep breath

Day after day, head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and her minions give us a bunch of turds, but today, the front of the Local section carries a big one that smells just like a rose.

Staff Writer Jay Levin does some street-level reporting on a subject of interest to all residents: pooper-scooper ordinances, inconsiderate dog owners and how well the laws are enforced. For a change, the news copy desk wrote an imaginative headline.

Levin, an accomplished writer of local obituaries, also delivers an unusual, emotional obituary on a couple who never lost sight of their roots (L-3).

Sykes, of course, continues to scramble in filling holes left by lazy members of her municipal reporting staff. There are no Hackensack stories today -- and other major towns go begging -- but the section carries two stories by a weekly reporter from her hometown of Harrington Park (L-2 and L-3).

Christie contradictions

A letter to the editor (O-3) notes that while first lady Mary Pat Christie is helping to fight hunger, her husband, Governor Christie cut $2.4 million in the state's contribution to free breakfast and lunch programs for lower income schoolchildren. The writer, John Callaghan, asks, "Why attack the poor?" Did The Record point out the contradiction?

Fish tales

Elisa Ung, the restaurant reviewer who writes "The Corner Table" column in Better Living, baits readers today with an evaluation of non-buffet, all-you-can-eat sushi deals. But there is nothing here on how many alternatives to high-mercury tuna are offered or whether the restaurants serve wild salmon in place of artificially colored farmed fish.

Flag of the municipality of Culebra (Puerto Rico)Image via Wikipedia
Flag of Culebra.

Babe and hunk

Staff Writers Stephanie Akin and Shawn Boburg -- one of the newsroom's most attractive couples --  demonstrate how opposites attract:

They're both great physical specimens, but she's a stylish clothes horse and he's fashion challenged (at least when I saw them daily before I left The Record in 2008). And she's one of the most productive members of the local staff, while he's under the Sykes' spell and doesn't do much of anything.

Today, they share a byline on a Travel front story about the Puerto Rican island of Culebra, illustrated with their photos, including one of a woman on the beach who could be her. How sweet.

On T-3 today, it doesn't look like the color barrier was broken in "The Record on the Road" photo feature of readers on vacation.

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Imagine my disappointment when I searched the nojers site online and found only one photo associated with the PR travel story -- and it wasn't a bikini shot of Steph. Thanks, Victor.... If anyone happens to have a hard copy (heh heh) and can scan it and send it to me, I'd truly appreciate it. Or as Ritt would say: Thanks much.... A specimen, indeed. Voof!

  2. Maybe I hyped it too much. The woman is in a bikini, but she is seated with her back to the camera.

  3. ... and what a fine back it is.


If you want your comment to appear, refrain from personal attacks on the blogger. Anonymous comments are no longer accepted. Keep your racism to yourself.