Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Making readers work for the news

Republican Party (United States)Image via Wikipedia

The Record of Woodland Park today devotes not that much more of the front page to Governor Christie's momentous budget proposals than it did to the inconsequential landing of a small plane on Route 80. 

And like that gee-whiz report on Feb. 1, there's something major missing in today's package of stories.

You'll have to plow through lots of densely packed text on Page 1 and A-6 and A-7, the continuation pages, to make any sense of Christie's plan. 

Where is the graphic comparing the proposed 2012 budget to the current one? (The story on the plane that used Route 80 as a landing strip didn't name the town where it set down.) 

Such an easy-to-read budget chart belongs on A-1, but Editor Francis Scandale filled that space with a silly sports story instead. Readers have to work hard to determine whether this is more of the Republican governor's financial sleight-of-hand.

And why does Scandale and the other editors seize on Christie's phrase "new normal" as the main headline, unless they want to resemble his public relations journal. A far better head would have been:

More cuts ahead

The paper also seems to accept the governor's proposal for $200 million in tax cuts for wealthy business owners -- without citing any evidence such incentives create jobs or seeking such data from the Christie administration.

An upbeat editorial on the budget plan is on A-10.

Out of mothballs

The major story on the front of Local is about the historic Anderson Street railroad station in Hackensack that was destroyed in a fire. This is the first story about the station's possible replacement since it burned down more than two years ago.

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