Sunday, July 10, 2011

A master blends sports hype with news

Wood textureImage by kevindooley via Flickr
A brain scan of Editor Francis Scandale found a large amount of wood.

Look at that earth-shaking front page.

Staff Writer Jean Rimbach took almost as long to get her latest double-dipping "expose" onto Page 1 of The Record today as Derek Jeter did to get 3,000 hits.

Jeter may be the first player on the Yankees to achieve the milestone, but 27 others did it before him, according to The New York Times.

So, Editor Francis Scandale, is this really such a big deal that you'd order most of  A-1 for the story and photo, plus a mind-numbing three sidebars and a commemorative page? 

I'm throwing up my breakfast all over that page.

Master of hype

In more than a decade as editor, Scandale has shown himself to be a master at avoiding issues of importance to North Jersey readers, while he peddles a blend of sports myth-making and business as front-page news.

At heart, he's a jock who somehow found himself in charge of a once-great suburban daily, where he's more comfortable slapping other editors on the ass than patting them on the back.

Also on Page 1, a brief about Lodi quotes "Luna," with no first name or title.

Copping out again

I'm not sure how many months Rimbach spent "investigating" cop-cum-CEO Frank DelVecchio, but he's identified as "deputy chief" in the A-1 headline, as "Fairview police chief" in the lead paragraph and then as "deputy chief" again in the third paragraph.

Confusing. I scanned the entire story and also couldn't find anything on how much Fairview pays him for his public job.

Rimbach, a favorite of head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes, has gotten away with murder in terms of her productivity, compared to other reporters.

And even after spending months on a story, she often leaves holes, unanswered questions and, as in this story, she and Sykes can't get it ready for publication before the alleged conflict has ended.

Readers may recall that also was the case with the Rimbach-led investigation of lawman Michael Mordaga by several reporters. 

Sykes allowed the probe to drag on for nearly three years, squandered an  estimated $500,000 in staff salaries and only managed to publish a single story even jock Scandale didn't think was good enough for Page 1.

Here is a link to December 2009 Eye on The Record post about the Mordaga story:

Way too little, way too late

Lost columnist

On the front of Sykes' Local section, Road Warrior John Cichowski wastes an entire column on a body shop owner who can't find addresses, when all he had to say was, "Hey, Bill and everyone else with this problem, get a GPS."

Sykes leads the section with a wealthy Alpine jeweler who presumably blew millions on his fighter-pilot fantasy, only to crash his military jet in West Milford on Saturday.

Thousands of North Jersey residents who have been awakened by his noisy plane cheered. Look at that L-1 photo of a hook-and-ladder, ambulances and whatever. I hope all those first responders send a big bill to Vatche Agihayan, 46, for all the trouble he's caused.

Forest and trees

On L-3, a story on coyotes by Hackensack reporter Monsy Alvarado doesn't mention that Borg's Woods, a nature preserve, once was the backyard where Chairman Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg frolicked when he was growing up in a big, white house at Summit and Fairmount avenues.

Borg tried to sell the 14-plus acres to a townhouse developer before the county stepped in and purchased the old-growth forest in the late 1980s.

Now, the Borg family's plan to sell about 20 acres on River Street in Hackensack to Wal-Mart Stores for $15 million to $20 million is being cheered by city business interests.

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  1. Selling to Walmart?

    Record to small retailers: "Drop dead."

  2. The Record and North Jersey Media Group already told small Main Street merchants to drop dead when it pulled hundreds of employees out of Hackensack and scattered them to the winds, never to eat lunch again on the street or have their cars serviced nearby or pick up a pizza for dinner.

  3. From the Anonymous peanut gallery:

    "Times did the same thing with Jeter today. I guess it's stupid, too."


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