Friday, July 1, 2011

Editor doesn't feel your pain

HAMMONTON, NJ  - MARCH 29:  New Jersey Governo...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Readers could tell what a poor job The Record did in examining Governor Christie's budget and benefit cuts, because reporters always used "reform agenda" to describe them. Those were Christie's words. "Reform" is good, even if it hurts seniors, women, and middle- and working-class residents.

Editor Francis Scandale doesn't feel New Jersey taxpayers' pain now that Governor Christie has signed his austere state budget.

In a successful effort to downplay all the cuts affecting middle- and working-class families, and low-income women and children, Scandale actually devotes more space to  photos than to text in The Record's story on A-1 and A-8 today.

Christie apologist

The ho-hum Page 1 headlines, the cryptic graphic -- Scandale designed all of it to blunt the impact of what a leading Democrat calls "a cruel and mean-spirited" budget intended to show that Christie is in charge.

An editorial on A-20 fleshes out some of Chistie's severe cuts, but Scandale's routine coverage is inexcusable.

Readers know Scandale is bored with issues. He'd much prefer a front page with a police chase, standoff or some other mayhem to sell papers.

Newsroom slavery

They know he can't feel their pain, just as he can't feel the pain of all the hapless editors and reporters who work for him and the insufferable Deirdre Sykes.

But it is especially evident today, because the state lost a major media outlet on Thursday, when NJN devoted its entire newscast to a 40-year retrospective-cum-obituary before it signed off for good (A-2 photo). 

The paper doesn't fuss today over Christie silencing the New Jersey Network's potential criticism -- or another one of his coups, appointing a pro-business associate justice to the state Supreme Court, in place of the only black on that august bench (A-20 editorial). 

In fact, more space is devoted to rusting elevators and construction problems at the former Xanadu retail-and-entertainment complex (A-1) -- a space-filler that is a slap in the face to the hundreds of thousands affected by the GOP bully's slash-and-burn tactics.

Hook, line and stinker

The vast majority of drivers go to an MVC office only once every three or four years, if that, so why does Sykes, the head assignment editor, devote so much space to long lines, especially at the end of the month (L-1)?

Road Warrior John Cichowski, who seemingly has written hundreds of columns on MVC lines, today fails to tell readers what they should do when they see this journalism scofflaw (L-1).

Why does the story on an environmentally responsible auto showroom look like a paid advertisement for an import that, despite its small size, lags in fuel economy behind the Toyota Prius and other cars (L-3)?

Hackensack news takes a holiday for another day.

Let them eat cake

In Better Living, Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung finally has found a chef who feels a "responsibility" to serve local, natural and organic food (at Maritime Parc in Jersey City), and gives him three and a half out of a possible four stars.

She tells readers the $36 ribeye steak from Montana is grass-fed, one of the few times she specifies how meat is raised. 

Readers want to see more of that, and they could, if she didn't always waste space in both the text and data box on telling them a restaurant "isn't your place" if you expect "a formal, strictly fine-dining experience," as she does today. 

How stuffy. What in God's name does she mean? Dining and dress codes have  become much less formal in the past 10 to 15 years, and parents take even babies everywhere. Where has she been? 

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