Saturday, July 2, 2011

Who does the editor identify with?

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 16: Newspapers with covera...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Even if he had consensual sex with the Manhattan hotel maid whose credibility is weak, how does Dominique Strauss-Kahn's wife feel?

Editor Francis Scandale gives big play on Page 1 today to freedom for Dominique Strauss-Kahn as the sexual-assault case against the former IMF chief seems weaker. 

Scandale put the story on The Record's front page because:

  • The accusations, arrest and indictment were on the front page, and in the interests of fair play, so should major questions about the credibility of the hotel maid.
  • Or, the editor identifies with men whose brains are in their penis.

I guess Scandale didn't have any more New Jersey news and had to fill space with a long sidebar on Strauss-Kahn's chances in the French presidential election -- a subject of no interest in the Garden State (A-6).

Editor goes ape

Before that story broke, Scandale had ordered A-1 play for a story on a baboon making a surprise visit to his human relatives in Freehold (A-3).

The baboon must have eaten some of those sick, tumor-laden oysters from the polluted Hackensack River (A-1).

Publisher Stephen A. Borg was all set to sell the landmark building at 150 River St. in Hackensack to an oyster processor who claimed River City bivalves would some day rival those from Louisiana.

We get letters

A letter to the editor from James D. Storozuk of Fair Lawn says the Woodland Park daily erred on June 25 in calling  a self-propelled military vehicle "a tank" (A-13). 

That's like calling The Record "a newsletter," he said. You just wait, Jim.

A second letter, from Valerie Haymes of Hackensack, reveals the noisy truth about living near Teterboro Airport, in contrast to the June 28 propaganda piece that ran on the OpEd page.

Even the photo -- of a small prop plane against a blue sky filled with puffy, white clouds -- was a lie.

Hot news

Desperate head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes pads her Local front today with yet another story on solar panels and a photo of a fender bender.

A major story on a new job in New York State for the former Hackensack superintendent of schools appears on L-1 today, but readers find only an L-6 brief on the return of the city's first Hispanic mayor under a  rotation system.

Readers of Better Living are greeted by a major story on hot dogs, complete with photos and lists (F-1 and F-4). Yet, the reporter couldn't find any place that serves uncured, preservative- and antibiotic-free beef hot dogs.

Excessive consumption of conventional franks has been linked to cancer.

Jaeger takes a powder

It looks like Features Editor Barbara Jaeger is history.

The Contact Us box on F-2 today is missing her name as well as her title. 

The first name listed is her assistant, Marc Schwarz, who lost the "t" in his last name many years ago and periodically travels around the world to look for it.

Jaeger's exit follows that of Steve Adamek, her husband, who covered basketball and golf for The Record. His stuff stopped appearing on in late May.

Jaeger, who is about 59 years old, and Adamek were two of the most unpleasant people in the newsroom to deal with. 

Many say Jaeger got her first job -- as a part-time news clerk in 1974, right out of college  -- only because her father worked at The Record.

If Jaeger received severance, it would have totaled 12 weeks' salary under changes imposed by Vice President Jennifer A. Borg -- one-third of what she would have gotten under the old system, or one week's pay for every one of her 36 years at the paper.

Cut food news 

Jaeger hounded Food Editor Patricia Mack into retirement in 2006 as part of a pattern of discrimination against older workers she supervised.

She also rolled over and played dead when the younger Borg folded the Food section.

Reporters and editors who unsuccessfully applied for jobs in her department would console themselves -- and be consoled by other workers -- that at least they wouldn't have to work for such a difficult woman.

Among her supervisory traits was scolding employees for expense-account items she considered excessive or unnecessary. 

George Cubanski also left. He worked for Jaeger and supervised the features copy desk, where he allowed numerous errors to get past his cursor. 

Cubanski took over from Liz Houlton, his wife, who was promoted, despite the poor job she did as copy desk slot.

Jaeger and Adamek, Cubanski and Houlton, and Sykes and Kevin O'Neil were three of the married couples employed in The Record newsroom for many years, despite their lack of talent.

Years before O'Neil's exit, many co-workers couldn't figure out what he did as head of graphics at the Web site.

When he got the heave-ho, Sykes kept her job, just like Houlton kept her job when her husband left. 

Did they make a deal with the spoiled Borg siblings to help trim the payroll in these challenging economic times? 


  1. Mr.Sasson are you familiar with a news website called (New Jersey They are a group of x reporters from the Star Ledger. What do you think of the site.

  2. No. But I'll take a look and get back to you. Thanks.

    The Star-Ledger had lots of buyouts and shed more staff than The Record, I believe.

    The Record now carries many Star-Ledger stories; without them, you'd see a lot of white space.

  3. See, this blog would be a lot more useful if you were able to tell us exactly what happened to Babs and Chuckles -- you know, do some reporting like similar blogs do. Name-calling loses its shock value, but reporting personnel moves that the paper would rather hush up ... well, that would hit them where it hurts.

    As for my two cents on Babs and Chuckles, You are correct that they are unpleasant people, but they are not necessarily bad ones. Babs could carry on a normal conversation if she wanted to and if she felt comfortable it was off the record. Chuckles never had anything positive to say about anything, including his own work, but he was the only sign of intelligent life on that sports writing crew since Bill Pennington and the late Mike Celizic left.

  4. Saying they were untalented and unpleasant to deal with is not name-calling. Saying she discriminated against Pat Mack and other older workers is not name-calling.

    I was tempted to, but didn't call her a bitch on wheels.

    What happened to them? I imagine they were pushed out, a few years before early retirement, perhaps with a buyout.

    The Borgs seems intent on lowering labor costs by getting rid of the six-figure deadwood -- such as VP Thomas Morgan and Barbara Jaeger -- as well as such veterans as Steve Adamek, George Cubanski, Kevin O'Neil, etc. etc.

    Who are the recent hires? Inexperienced reporters? What are they being paid?

  5. About

    I am not a big fan of online news sites. This one has a lot of talent from The Star-Ledger, but I think it makes the mistake of trying to duplicate The Star-Ledger's Web site and others, such as

    Here's a chance for a group of journalists who were pushed out of the state's biggest newspaper to find their voices -- not just dispassionately regurgitate the day's news, sports, movie reviews and so forth.

    With Governor Christie and other politicians failing us every day -- while they cater to the rich -- we need more than New Jersey journalism as usual, as you find in The Record and other newspapers.


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