Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Breaking news -- a day late

Paramus, NJImage by derajfast via Flickr
Readers have begun to pray that The Record they receive is complete.

Around 11 Sunday night, a Paramus police officer was shot five times by a suspect who lost control of his car on a highway ramp -- and readers of The Record of Woodland Park just learned about it this morning. A serious newspaper would have had something on Monday morning's front page.

Oh, I know about the former Hackensack daily's early deadlines and how its deadlines are moved up, if there's even a little precipitation in the forecast. But did the reporter doing the police checks Sunday night miss this big story? Did an assignment editor decide it was too late to throw together a short story for Monday's paper?

There are readers who did not watch local TV news Sunday night or log onto northjersey.com. There are subscribers to the paper who rely on it exclusively for local news -- who don't read the garbage from the weeklies that passes for local news on the Web site.

For those readers, Editors Francis Scandale and Deirdre Sykes failed again.

Raising questions

Today's Page 1 coverage of Paramus Police Officer Rachel Morgan and suspect Michael Carmody was put together by eight reporters and at least two photographers. Why is the profile of the alleged shooter on A-6 longer than the profile of the cop he shot?

Why doesn't the story answer some obvious questions, such as whether the cop was trained to use the door of her police cruiser as a shield when she hasn't determined whether the driver she was chasing is armed and dangerous?

Why is the lead A-1 story today more on Governor Christie's clean-out of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners -- which was all over the front page last week -- and not on his being open to a new plan for Hudson River rail tunnels put forward by New Jersey's U.S. senators?

Car-loving editors

The Record's pathetic coverage of mass transit gives readers the impression its editorial staff, including Road Warrior John Cichowski, is in the pockets of automobile dealers.

An editorial on A-10 calls Christie's veto of a bill that would have meant federal aid for family planning services for poor women "disappointing," and the bill's sponsor wrote an OpEd piece on A-11. It's a clear sign the governor is leading wealthy New Jersey residents in a war against the middle and working classes.

Business side

Sykes' Local news section continues to disappoint, with Columnist Charles Stiles selling out his journalism credentials to attack a bill that could see newspapers such as The Record lose substantial ad revenue from legal notices (L-1).

Hackensack reporter Monsy Alvarado has a story for a change, an L-2 report on teachers voting on a wage-freeze proposal. 

Silly story

I get a kick out of how young Better Living staffers think technology is the solution to all of our problems, including what we cook or eat out. 

Today's F-1 story by Staff Writer Sachi Fujimori appears to focus on useless culinary apps. Who really needs one that helps you cut "perfectly even slices of cake or pizza" or allows you to "color-coordinate your dinner menu with your outfit." Give me a break.

Or what use is an app that will "trace produce back to the farm it came from and even the crew that picked it"? Wouldn't a far better app be one that tells you whether the produce was grown with pesticides or herbicides, or whether the poultry, meat and fish you buy were raised with antibiotics?

And, please, Fujimori, no more stories that begin: "If you haven't gotten the memo yet...." Believe it or not, many of your readers aren't employed, and don't get memos. Some are retired or were older when they were laid off by bosses like Barbara Jaeger to make way for young staffers such as yourself.

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