Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rebuilding the spirit of readers

The WTC Site as of March 2010Image via Wikipedia
Readers are biting their nails as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches.

What would it take for Editor Francis Scandale of The Record to rebuild the spirit of readers?

It may be too late for him, having filled the front page day after day with the inconsequential or hitting the reader over the head with the same story month after month.

Today, here is Staff Writer Shawn Boburg with at least his third major Page 1 takeout this year on the 9/11 memorial and rebuilding of the World Trade Center site.

This may be one of the biggest construction projects in memory, but why didn't the reporter ask Port Authority Chairman David Samson why commuters should swallow higher bridge and tunnel tolls, if they're needed to help meet the $11 billion price tag? 

Readers are sick and tired of reading about rich and powerful people like Samson. Look at the stupid drop headline: "Port Authority chief committed to WTC project."

We should hope so, but this isn't supposed to be P.R. for the humongous bi-state agency.

News or views?

What other earth-shaking news is on the front page? 

Here's another process story from Road Warrior John Cichowski on fixing the MVC -- the 300th in an unending series.

Here's sports Columnist Tara Sullivan praising the U.S. women's World Cup soccer team just days after writing another column that trashed the team by comparing the women unfavorably to the '99 squad.

Obesity news

Former Food Editor Bill Pitcher may be on the run now that the Journal of the American Medical Association argues parents of extremely obese children should lose custody for not controlling their kids' weight (A-5).

Head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes' Local section seems filled with stories, but when you examine them, there isn't any municipal news from Teaneck or Englewood.

Brass balls

Staff Writer Melissa Hayes -- who wrote today's L-1 story on a strip mall fire --  reported on Englewood's fiscal mess on Monday, noting the police chief is being paid more than $241,000 a year, the fire chief gets $220,000,the deputy police chief receives $219,000 and even police lieutenants are paid $206,000.

Did it occur to Hayes' clueless assignment editor to ask her to write a story on why  Governor Christie has given a pass to police brass on having their salaries capped at his salary of $175,000, just like all those haughty school superintendents?


  1. From the Anonymous peanut gallery:

    "What is it with the Bill Pitcher posts? He's been gone from the Record for what, a year, and you're still crapping on him?"

    In response, all I can say is Pitcher failed miserably as the successor to Food Editor Patricia Mack, presided over the death of Food section and wasn't worth anywhere near the $70,000 he was paid, given his lack of experience.

    To me and many other readers, food coverage should not be treated as fluff. It's pretty simple.

  2. In response to further comment from the peanut gallery, I should point out Bill Pitcher was an innocent bystander in my age-discrimination suit.

    He wasn't at fault for applying for and getting the job. He didn't even know I applied.

  3. I don't think food editor was his title or a good description of what he used to do. I suspect you know that but it's More fun to make an unparalleled comparison. Half of the features writers work for Susan Sherril. I know the EAs reported to Bill. Did Pat have to edit half the staff and the EAs? If not maybe you need to compare them by weight instead.

  4. That was his title in the Contact Us box that ran in the section, though staff writer appeared under his byline.

    You're being unfair to Pat Mack, who edited a large number of free lancers and did it well. She was by far one of the sharpest editors I have ever had.

    I don't believe Bill actually edited any of the stuff from his underlings, judging from the nonsense that appeared in the paper. He was more production oriented.


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