Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Breaking news, broken staff

CairoImage by filtran via Flickr
Cairo, Egypt, is one of the world's most fascinating cities.

"Wake Jean up! Wake Jean up!" head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes shouted to one of the news clerks in the Woodland Park newsroom on Monday, referring to Staff Writer Jean Rimbach, one of the least productive members of her staff.

"Where's Kibret [Markos]?  I can't reach him, so he must be on a smoking break again outside the courthouse," she said before laughing loudly. "We've got to throw reporters at that story on the plane that landed on Route 80. 

"Boy," Sykes said, "I'm going to hold onto to that story right up to deadline so the news copy desk doesn't screw it up."

Were six reporters needed to cover this gee-whiz story for The Record? It's all over the front page today, but it's so poorly reported and edited, there is no mention of the town where the plane landed -- not in the text or on the A-1 map. Radio news reported the single-engine plane landed in Hackensack.

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. The editing of the text on the continuation page (A-6) is atrocious. The errors include the lower case "justice department" twice; "Prosecutor's Office, whom"; and "looked in to."

And does this overlong story really belong on Page 1? Please, Editor Francis Scandale, this isn't the North Jersey version of the commercial jet that belly-flopped on the Hudson a couple of years ago. 

Egypt and New Jersey

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule is being called corrupt, and he's blamed for human rights violations and widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

You can find similarities in the rule of Governor Christie. His budget cutting and tax policies strongly favor the rich over the middle and working classes in New Jersey, and now he's appointed four pay-to-play contributors to seats on the state Board of Education. All send their kids to private -- not public -- schools (A-1).  

The lead A-1 story today -- on bronze-panel seams separating the first and last names of some 9/11 victims -- seems to be much ado about nothing. But it's typical of Scandale's desperation in trying to sell papers.

In a pickle

The humorous take on Bergen County's use of a salt-water brine to melt ice (L-1) isn't enough to  hide how the paper missed this story initially. It was widely reported last week by New York television news stations.

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  1. Actually, the Sullenberger landing on the Hudson was a little over a year ago, not "a couple of years ago." Time flies but not that fast. But the copy editing on that story does seem atrocious.

  2. My Google search is coming up with January 2009.

  3. You're right. I knew I shoulda gone to math class in elementary school instead of sneaking out for a smoke in the bathroom.


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