Monday, June 6, 2011

Editors need to clean up their act

Walt Disney World ResortImage via Wikipedia
Governor Christie plans to hire private highway snow plowers so he can vacation next winter in Florida without running into any flak.

Who is the infrastructure editor at The Record of Woodland Park?

Is it Editor Francis Scandale or head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes who champions all these Page 1 stories about garbage-dump cleanups, highway maintenance and the rest of the infrastructure crumbling around us? 

The EnCap project and cleanup have been a disaster from their beginnings more than a decade ago, so why are cost overruns and delays worthy of the patch on A-1 today?

Holes in their heads 

Is the privatization of highway pothole-filling and snow plowing all a task force could come up with to save the state money?

I guess Governor Christie is saying that with private plowers, he can spend weeks at Disney World next winter without having to worry about blizzards burying New Jersey.

The first paragraph of the lead front-page story today reports the state "has confirmed it is considering privatizing maintenance" of a section of highway, but the third paragraph quotes a DOT spokesman as saying the agency is "preparing to issue" a request for proposals.

Why is Staff Writer Karen Rouse hemming and hawing? "Preparing to issue" goes far beyond "considering," doesn't it?

Anyway, why such fussy and constipated language? This is Page 1, after all. Did her assignment editor look over the lead or just hit the spell-check program before sending the story to the copy desk?

Why not just say, The state may privatize snow plowing, etc., as the headline does? 

Judging from all the stories she writes from news releases and meetings, Rouse is another in a long line of transportation reporters who have followed the example of Dan Sforza in never riding buses or trains and writing about the quality of the service.

News potholes

Do Scandale and Sykes think readers are eager for all these process stories on garbage dumps and highway upkeep? Or are the editors and their sub-editors so desperate to fill holes on A-1 simply because they have no other legitimate news?

The third story on Page 1 raises an unanswered question: Where are the New Jersey celebrities lobbying state lawmakers on such important issues as obesity, education aid, and cuts to school-meal and health-care programs for low-income families?

Hey, Scandale and Sykes, are you telling us Queen Latifah, Martha Stewart, Tony Bennett and the others inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame (A-3) no longer give a hoot about the Garden State and all the havoc Christie is wreaking?

Let them eat cake

Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung breathed a sigh of relief and had another slice of cheesecake to celebrate news that vegetable sprouts grown in Germany caused the E. coli outbreak that has killed at least 22 in Europe (A-7).

Ung hasn't eaten any vegetables or salad since she was hired in 2007.

What's hot in Local news?

Fish that eat mosquitoes, Peruvians voting in their nation's election, 50,000 hip-hop fans attending a Meadowlands concert and another infrastructure and process story, this one on Ramsey's water system (Local front).

Hackensack, Teaneck and Englewood news? 

Be sure to breast-feed your babies, urges Englewood Hospital and Medical Center  (L-2). And a road dispute in Teaneck is blocking affordable senior housing (L-3).

That's all they wrote.
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