Saturday, February 12, 2011

An edition of highs and lows

Egypt's Renaissance, 1919-28 by Egyptian sculp...Image via Wikipedia
Egypt's Renaissance, by sculptor Mahmoud Mokhtar (1891-1934) Cairo, Egypt.

"They made history," Mohamed Younis of Franklin Lakes said in one of today's front page stories on the largely peaceful revolution in his native Egypt that has gripped the world for nearly three weeks. 

Younis and fellow Egyptians in North Jersey finally made it to Page 1 of The Record of Woodland Park in a package of stories and photos from here and the Middle East that jump to Page A-6. 

Despite wordiness, the lead paragraph on the local story by Staff Writers Erik Shilling and Nick Clunn snaps  -- and the news copy desk had the good sense to write the main headline off of it:
"Fury turned into elation for many North Jersey Egyptians on Friday as news broke that Egypt's embattled president ... had chosen to bow to the demands of hundreds of thousands of protesters and step down."

Confused local stories

Then, I turned to the head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes ' Local news section and tried to fathom what happened in two accident stories. The reporting, writing and editing is so confused readers have to read and re-read the text as they try to peace together events.

The off-lead L-1 story reports that a bus hit a 90-year-old woman in Fort Lee and attributes that to police. In the second paragraph, the county prosecutor also is quoted as saying she was hit by a bus, but in the rest of the story, it's unclear whether she fell on her own or was struck.

The involvement of the Prosecutor's Office is never explained.

At the bottom of L-1, the lead paragraph of the second accident story reports a car "rear-ended" a police cruiser, injuring a police sergeant and a suspect he was arresting and "tossing both men onto Saddle River Road." 

Finally, seven paragraphs later, readers are told the cop and suspect were outside the police cruiser when it was hit. That should have been in the lead.

The main story on L-1 -- a week without a snow or ice storm -- would have been a lot better without its juvenile first sentence: "Break out the swimsuits and fire up the grill." Grow up. At least the story explains why the near record snowfall has stopped for now.

More horse manure

Readers are undoubtedly wondering what another story on the Meadowlands Racetrack is doing among zoning, police, accident and education stories on L-3 today. 

This story and others by Staff Writer John Brennan are mere filler in the absence of legitimate municipal news from Hackensack, Englewood, Teaneck and other major towns. Sykes' assignment desk minions seem to take every Friday off. 

Witness the three wire-service obituaries of people you've never heard of on L-6 today.

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