Monday, February 7, 2011

It quacks like an editor taking a freebie

Ship - Port Canaveral, Disney DreamImage by insidethemagic via Flickr
The Record's lavish coverage of a new cruise ship takes up a third of the Travel section.

The Page 1 headline today tells us the Packers added to their legacy with a Super Bowl win, but what does  spreading the coverage all over A-1, L-1 and the Sports section tells us about Editor Francis Scandale? Green Bay isn't even a team that plays in New Jersey.

Of course, we know Scandale loves the male-bonding, ass-slapping, towel-snapping and jock-strap waving camaraderie of the news meeting when sports is on the table, but it goes beyond that.

Scandale is no intellectual. Nor is he interested in issues, such as dictatorships in the Middle East, so the Egypt story keeps on bouncing onto and off of the front page. 

He's antsy, like most journalists, and gets bored by a story quickly. He needs to be stimulated every minute of the day -- and he thinks the same of his readers.

More drunk fans

Bill Ervolino's Super Bowl story on fans at a Westwood tavern might have sounded like a good idea, but in the paper, it reads like every story written from a tavern on game day (L-1).

The lead A-1 story on a new proposal for a Hudson River rail tunnel is important for the region's future, but The Star-Ledger beat The Record to it. 

Lucky for Scandale, the two papers have a cooperative news gathering agreement, and Star-Ledger stories plug a lot of holes left empty by The Record's lazy assignment desk under Editor Deirdre Sykes.

Another drone

On the Local front, why is Columnist Mike Kelly wasting his time on a single small-engine plane operated by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office, when he could be writing about the hundreds of small planes and business jets that ruin the quality of life in Hackensack and other towns near Teterboro Airport?

At  the top of L-1, Hackensack reporter Monsy Alvarado was on weekend duty and writing about whether ponds and lakes are safe for skating. Good thing she didn't fall through the ice or Hackensack residents would go from little news to no news about their city.

PORT CANAVERAL, FL - JANUARY 19:  In this hand...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Mickey Louse

In Travel Editor Jill Schensul's lavish spread on a new Disney cruise ship, she uses the phrase "full disclosure" a number of times, but makes no effort to come clean with readers on whether this was an all-expenses-paid press junket in return for a million dollars of free publicity. 

Her report and photos cover more than a third of the thin, six-page Sunday section.

Although she has a reputation of being a good writer, she delivered this "full disclosure" clunker on Sunday: "My palate is not sophisticated....[But] I was traveling with a serious food knower."

"Food knower," huh? I guess that must make me "a serious fraud knower."

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  1. Victor,

    a "MILLION dollars of free publicity."

    Look at their subscription numbers. Then recalculate.

  2. "Green Bay doesn't even play in New Jersey." Oh contraire, mon fraire, as they say in Papua New Guinea. Green Bay may not play in New Jersey (except for the occasional game against the Giants or Jets) BUT it was coached by the legendary Vince Lombardi, who was born in a New Jersey Turnpike service plaza and who coined the phrase "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing," which has been permutated by the Borgs into "Winning a Pulitzer Prize isn't everything but we'll keep expending more and more of our diminishing resources until we do." So cut ol' Vinny -- Lombardi, not Byrne -- some slack and leave his Packers their space on A-1. Besides, I heard on the radio that one of the Packers grew up in Bergen County. I'm sure the Record was over it like a flock of pigeons on a loaf of crumbled week old bread.

  3. A "serious food knower," eh? I wonder if ol' Elisa wormed her way onto the junket too. Let me look in my crystal ball ... hmm ... I see a two-star review in the Disney cruise ship's future. But give Jill a little credit, she may dine like a princess and travel the world, but she is working all the time, unlike some of the travel press bozos who have a good time and plagiarize the press releases.

  4. I'm getting a good laugh from both of these comments.

    Jill Schensul is a vegetarian and animal-lover, but that's no reason for her section to stint on food -- one reason many people travel. She is retaliatory, too, boycotting stories on South Korea because she believes they eat dogs.

    What I want to know is who is "Lisa," her traveling companion? Could it be one of the graphic artists who went along for the free ride?

    Jerry Luciani, another graphic artist, went on a press junket to Mexico City, and I never saw the story in the Travel section.

    Yes. I'm aware of Vince Lombardi's connection to New Jersey, but thought his mother used a midwife and delivered at home.

  5. I didn't know that about Jill and Korea. No wonder Elisa Ung has never reviewed Katz's Deli. And yes, I was kidding about Lombardi being named after the service plaza where he was born, it may have been the other way around.

  6. I know you were kidding. So was I about the midwife.


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