Monday, April 18, 2011

Forcing readers to do the math

The skyline of Paterson, New Jersey showing th...Image via Wikipedia
The Passaic River canyon, foreground, and the city of Paterson.

Would it kill Editor Francis Scandale to assign a story that draws together all the proposed state budget-cutting proposals and possible sources of revenue -- so readers don't have to keep a pad and pencil by their side and do the match as information appears in dribs and drabs?

In The Record of Woodland Park today, an A-3 story from The Star-Ledger provides Governor Christie's "most detailed explanation" to date of how he would cut public employees' health benefits. The plan would save $870 million a year by 2014, Treasury officials say.

Busting myths

On Sunday, also on A-3, The Star-Ledger reported New Jersey gained about $1 billion a year from 2004 to 2007 from higher taxes on residents making more than $500,000 a year -- and lost only $16.4 million in tax revenue from those who left the state in the same three years.

Why isn't The Record staff doing these stories? Does Scandale fear readers would see instantly how Christie is waging a war financed by the Borgs and other wealthy residents against public workers and other segments of the middle class?

Shafting commuters

Page 1 today is filled with a lot of what-ifs, but the lead story raises the possibility the state could lose federal funding of the proposed Amtrak tunnel under the Hudson River. 

If that happens, Christie will have railroaded commuters by pulling the plug on an earlier tunnel project and thumbing his nose at billions in federal funds -- while steering hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees to a high-powered law firm to fight the Feds' demand for repayment of other money.

Broken city

Has Paterson always been mismanaged? The layoffs of 392 municipal workers, including 125 police officers, "officially" takes effect today, but the story is buried on Page L-8 in head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes' Local section.

Is Christie going to ride to the rescue of the Silk City at the head of a posse of state police? Don't hold your breath. The governor is no friend of blacks, as he showed by dismissing the state Supreme Court's only African-American justice.

And, of course, Sykes and the other editors have never shown any affection for blacks or Hispanics -- inside or outside of the newsroom.

Out of gas

In Sunday's Travel section, a lone Asian woman broke the all-white color barrier of the T-3 photo feature called "The Record on The Road." What a diverse readership.

Travel Editor Jill Schensul's T-1 cover story on the rising cost of travel contains this gem: "With the price of gas reaching record-breaking proportions ...."
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  1. You're going to have to change "The Star Ledger" to "Pulitzer prize-winning Star Ledger".

  2. Mr. Sasson can you explain the Associated Press to your Readers. How newspapers purchase stories (costs to buy a story etc.)and how news reporters get a story to be excepted by AP. Does the AP swap stories for free from different news media? What are the Pros and Cons to the Associated Press? Thank You Mr. Sasson.

  3. Kudos to the star ledger for that. The only project the Record would throw those kind of resources at is Continuous Improvement. BTW, a little known tidbit: A star ledger reporter who shared the Polk Award was once an intern on the copy desk at the Record.

  4. As I understand The Associated Press, it is a news-gathering cooperative.

    I'm not sure how much newspapers pay to use stories from the AP, but newspapers also contribute stories to the news service's daily report.

    Usually, a news clerk at The Record would send stories to the AP late at night, possibly after deadline.

    The AP was once called a wire service, and when I first started working at a newspaper, The Hartford Courant, we had an AP teletype machine in a glass room in the newsroom that clattered and sounded bells depending on the urgency of the news.

    The story goes that Bruce Kaufman, one of the reporters, was in the newsroom very late after just about everyone had gone home and a bulletin on President Nixon ordering the bombing of Cambodia came over the AP machine.

    He took it upon himself to call the press room and order the presses stopped, and then re-plated the front page with a banner headline.

    He caught hell the next day.

    I once met an AP reporter who referred to The Record as The Wretched. Of course, newspaper reporters often call the AP "The Associated Mess."

    How does the AP cover a war? It practices body-count journalism, rarely taking time to explain religious and ethnic tensions.

  5. Four Emmy's; a Polk, and now a Pulitzer. And that little daily in, Woodland Park?

  6. I'll bet even Jennifer is scratching her head over who the intern was who went on to win a Polk award, and many other investigative prizes with the star ledger. Oh, I forgot, Jennifer doesn't read this blog. If she did, she'd have to fire herself.

  7. Maybe she logs in from her (presumably) palatial apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

    I know she had the law firm of Pashman Stein monitoring the blog for a while -- at $400 or more an hour.

  8. Jennifer Borg can not be fired,she is aloud to break Record rules/law, NJMG rules/law, NJ State laws,Civil Rights laws cause she lies and can cut a BIG FAT CHECK to have her Lawyers Lie for her!!!! WELCOME TO NEW JERSEY!


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