Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Did they really mean to say that?

Teaneck Municipal BuildingImage via Wikipedia
Township Hall in Teaneck. Are there any bodies buried there?

On the front page of The Record of Woodland Park today, Staff Writer Joseph Ax reports a Teaneck woman "was found stabbed and beaten by firefighters."

On A-11, a headline declares "Christie as a role model for governors" over an OpEd column by former Managing Editor Jim Ahearn, who is far less certain in the text.

On A-4 in Tuesday's paper, Staff Writer Michale Gartland reported "$100 million in proposed Republican cuts at a Hackensack unemployment office" ...that ..."could lead to the elimination of more than 20,000 jobs in New Jersey."

In the case of the two news stories, just moving around a few words in one sentence would have cleared up the fractured, ambiguous writing. 

But after years of hearing higher-ups on the news side scold them for editing stories aggressively, the news copy desk is on autopilot. 

Laughable errors like this show just how incompetent Editor Francis Scandale, head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and her sub-assignment editors are: They fail to turn out sparkling, clear writing every day. Even their lead paragraphs are flawed.

Today's front page

Page 1 today has another strong New Jersey focus in all four stories, but sloppy assignment-desk editing really stands out.

In the A-1 story about a Teaneck resident who was shot dead before his house was set on fire, Ax reports the 59-year-old victim "lived alone," but on A-6, the continuation page, readers are told he is separated from his wife. 

They're not mutually exclusive, but why wasn't his wife mentioned right away or, for that matter, his two grown daughters?

And isn't it weird how the victim's autopsy results were disclosed a couple of days after his death -- in contrast to the autopsy of Teaneck Police Officer John Abraham, who died in a high-speed crash of his police cruiser on Oct. 23, across Teaneck Road from headquarters.

Those results were never released by Teaneck Police Chief Robert Wilson and Ax never tried to get them from other sources. Was Wilson trying to hide something about Abraham's condition the night he died?

Local yokels

Police news about a mosque break-in and a story on evidence in the official misconduct trial of suspended Police Chief Ken Zisa is all Hackensack residents get today. 

But Sykes loved the story about the first pink-footed goose sighted in New Jersey, and put it on the front of her Local section, with a map and photo, and plenty of text on the jump page. 

The story doesn't answer an obvious question: What color is its poop? Yellow? Green?

BERLIN - NOVEMBER 23:  Sushi from yellowfin, o...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Sushi made from yellow-fin tuna.

Eat your mercury

If you think that goose would make good eating, don't miss the recipe for yellow-fin tuna, from Food Editor Susan Leigh Sherrill, who doesn't tell readers the fish she feels "good about" has elevated levels of harmful mercury (F-1).
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