Friday, May 20, 2011

Access to editor comes at a price

Official seal of East Rutherford, New JerseyImage via Wikipedia
Editor Francis Scandale was set to make a rare public appearance today.

Editor Francis Scandale was scheduled to appear this morning at a "Meet the Media Event" and hear story ideas pitched to him by the public. Tickets to the event were $65 to $105.

"Attendees will have the opportunity to present story ideas directly to North Jersey media representatives," according to a brief that ran Wednesday on Page L-9 in The Record of Woodland Park.

He was not named in the item. Most of the other media representatives at the event were from TV, including My 9 News and Telemundo.

The event, at the Sheraton Meadowlands Hotel in East Rutherford, was sponsored by the Fair Media Council, a business group. Scandale was not paid to appear, the group said.

The Fair Media Council is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, founded in 1979, and comprised of about 200 New York-metro businesses "who understand quality local news is vital to maintaining the health, well being and vitality of the region in which they live and do business," according to the group's Web site.

"The power of local news is an awesome force," the council says, adding:.

"At its worst, news is the problem.  Inaccurate coverage creates problems that don't really exist.  A lack of coverage enables issues to escalate.  When erroneous messages and perceptions are relayed to the public in the press, the news has the incredible ability to close minds.

"At its best, news opens the door to the world.  It  educates, even inspires ... and is the first step toward a solution, whatever the issue, wherever the town."

Out of ideas

Does Scandale's appearance at a "Meet the Media" event mean he is officially out of story ideas and can no longer rely on head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and her clueless minions? 

The Fair Media Council was started in 1979, yet I have never heard of it. If it represents about 200 businesses, isn't it a glorified public relations agency?

The Record already is filled with stories promoting businesses and books --  little more than cleverly disguised advertising -- and the occasional piece on a wealthy lawyer or private-jet saleswoman who does business with the Borg family.

How much more disservice should readers expect from Publisher Stephen A. Borg, a marketing whiz who supplanted Scandale and made over the paper in his own entrepreneurial image? 

Today's paper

Scandale, Sykes and the staff couldn't overcome their inertia to report local reaction among North Jersey Jews and Arabs to President Obama's vision for peace in the Middle East, a story that leads the paper today.

Why use a photo from Ramallah on A-8, when there are plenty of Palestinian businesses in South Paterson? 

On A-2 today, the accuracy-challenged Better Living section fixes an incorrect address for a pancake house in Paramus. 

What would Scandale and Sykes do for news if they didn't have college graduations to plaster all over the paper (L-1)?

Sykes is mulling whether to tell readers that a computer has been writing the Road Warrior's L-1 column for more years than she cares to admit by synthesizing and regurgitating hundreds of columns by Staff Writer John Cichowski, who now is living in his car, "Mr. Honda."

Swiss miss

The Swiss must have holes in their heads, as well as in their cheese, if they picked Tenafly for a satellite-controlled clock like the ones in use at 3,000 railway stations in Switzerland (L-1)

Gas-guzzling Tenafly officials and residents are fighting tooth and nail to stop extension of electrified light-rail service to the borough.


  1. It looks like the Fair Media Council has The Record as a very good example of their concerns when they state, "At its worst, news is the problem. Inaccurate coverage creates problems that don't really exist. A lack of coverage enables issues to escalate. When erroneous messages and perceptions are relayed to the public in the press, the news has the incredible ability to close minds."

  2. I agree, but you have to wonder whether they are talking about a lack of coverage of business issues or local issues?

  3. Heck, you may be onto something. The Record could start charging for the placement of stories instead of giving it away like a two dollar whore. Random House wants an article on some bestseller, a hundred bucks for a one paragraph blurb, five hundred for a section front. You know the book publicist is getting a bonus that pales that for such a placement. Ol' Dominique Strauss Kahn wants an article about what a sweetheart he is, two grand, five for front page placement. Why, before you know it, the Record of Woodland Park could move to ritzy Glen Rock and would be known as the Rockin' Record.

  4. Yes. Rockin' Record from The Editors Have Rocks in Their Heads.


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