Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Readers blast big sell-out to bank

Wells Fargo bank in Conrad, Montana with autum...Image via Wikipedia
North Jersey Media Group Publisher Stephen A. Borg is laughing all the way to the bank.

Three letters to the editor of The Record today blast the ad cover wrap for Wells Fargo Bank that hid the front page of the Woodland Park daily on Sunday (A-18).

"Unfortunately, the message is that The Record sold out to Wells Fargo," Nancy Currey of Ridgewood writes. 

"Toying with your readers that way is a dangerous action.... You report on questionable ethics in other organizations; perhaps the [paper's] management should examine what message hijacking your front page for money sends to the public."

Linda Dravin of Westwood notes that the paper's own Business section shows Wachovia/Wells Fargo "offered consistently lower CD rates than ... at comparable banks." Her conclusion is that the money this banking behemoth doesn't pay out in interest to customers is going into advertising.

From Woodland Park, Roz Cohen, who says she is a former newspaper columnist, writes, "I was appalled."

"OK, times are tough," she notes, "and the newspaper industry has been hit hard financially. I get it. However, let's try not to destroy decades of newspaper tradition.

"You should try harder to maintain the integrity of 'The Trusted Local Source' that The Record professes to be instead of chasing the almighty dollar."

A male reader of Eye on The Record said when he saw the ad cover wrap, he knew the paper had hit rock bottom.

I don't know if Letters Editor Charles Saydah received more letters on this subject, but I find it interesting all of the comments published today came from women. Saydah's heading on the letters: "Squandering good reputation."

It's too bad Publisher Stephen A. Borg doesn't read the paper. He loves "the almighty dollar" more than anyone else, especially when he spends it to benefit him and his family at the expense of his employees.

"Newspaper tradition"? His background is marketing, so he wouldn't know what you are talking about. He follows back-stabbing tradition. Witness what has happened to his father, Chairman Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg, the picture of a depressed old man pushed aside by his spoiled brats.

To read the three letters in full, click on the following link:

Today's paper

Here's more breathless front-page news on abuses and excesses at "nearly 600" local authorities, boards and commissions in New Jersey. But, really, who has led he way on uncovering all this high living, Governor Christie or newspaper editors?

James M. O'Neill, an environmental reporter, says DuPont will use vegetable oil to clean up pollution under 450 homes in Pompton Lakes. This A-1 story is another in a series that takes the focus off decades of inaction by federal, state and town officials, courts and the media.

The lion's share of Page 1 goes to East Rutherford Mayor James Cassella and his quixotic effort to collect municipal taxes for privately owned buildings on state land. What was Editor Francis Scandale thinking?

The Record covers another of Christie's dog-and-pony shows at town halls on A-3, with Staff Writer Michelle Lee hyping "his cost-cutting reform message."  

No one asks the governor why he refuses to tax millionaires to help the state out of its financial hole or why the former U.S. attorney seems to have granted an exemption to police chiefs in his campaign to cut salaries of school superintendents and others on the public payroll who make more than him.

Bird brain

In Local -- once the pride and joy of head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes -- Road Warrior Columnist John Cichowski unloads more of the minutiae that weighs so heavily on his bird brain.

As with so many columns in the past, Chick didn't have to leave the office to write this one -- off of a news story on new federal standards for street-sign lettering that go into effect in 2012. Why not wait until the signs are up there before writing a column?

He long ago turned his back on his mission to report on commuting problems and mass transit. 

Why, for example, isn't he writing about E-ZPass toll discounts available to readers who use Port Authority crossings, such as the "car-pool discount" that cuts the toll to $2 at any time of the day, if you have a total of three people in the car.

All you have to do is register and use a full-service lane (cash and E-ZPass), telling the attendant you want the "car-pool discount." It saves you $6 at peak travel times and $4 off peak. 

A special Port Authority Green E-ZPass is available to give a separate discount of $2 off peak to drivers of hybrid cars, with no minimum number of people needed.

A second look

Sykes' crack staff has missed or misreported stories recently -- acting more like a cracked staff.

The 90-year-old Korean woman hit by a bus in Fort Lee died later that Friday at Hackensack University Medical Center, according to Cliffview 

But on Saturday, The Record reported she was in critical condition at the hospital. The paper reported her death on Sunday, acknowledging she died Friday.

The Record failed to report that wounded Paramus Police Officer Rachel Morgan posted a Facebook message from her hospital bed. And it also ignored how smoky transformer lines forced the evacuation of Broadway in Westwood late Saturday afternoon.

See previous post:  
The Record isn't first with 'cover wrap' ad

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