|Image via Wikipedia|
|A commuter bus, followed by a private transit van, emerges from the Lincoln Tunnel in Manhattan. So-called Spanish buses take the overflow from NJ Transit's SRO buses.|
Manhattan-bound trains are standing-room-only and packed buses inch into the Lincoln Tunnel every weekday morning, so what do transportation reporters at The Record of Woodland Park write about?
If you're Staff Writer Karen Rouse, you comb your e-mail for press releases on surveys, reports, studies and grants that you can shape into a "transportation" story with a few phone calls -- the better to ignore the agencies you're supposed to cover, NJ Transit and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
No news today
Today, Rouse reports on drivers who can't afford to fix their cars. What does this have to do with her beat, and why is someone who skipped repairing his car's air conditioner Page 1 news?
More relevant -- and a story on her beat she has never done -- are the largely minority North Jersey residents who can't afford to own a car and rely on decrepit NJ Transit local buses to get around.
Maybe Rouse gets a pass because she was hand-picked for The Record by Editor Francis Scandale from their old newspaper in Denver.
She moved into a Hackensack apartment next to the tracks, but that's the closest she has come to a real story on the sad state of public transportation in North Jersey.
A Will and a way
Get a load of Columnist George Will's fairy tale about Governor Christie and the millionaires tax he rejects (A-11).
Far better reading is the piece on the Great Falls by E.A. Smyk, the Passaic County historian (A-11).
Two sensational crime stories dominate the front of Editor Deirdre Sykes' Local section, which is put out by the laziest news assignment desk in North America, South America and the Caribbean.
A second major "transportation" story appears just below that -- on federal grants to repave streets in five towns -- by the hard-working Rouse. You just can't stop her.
Even with Rouse and a second reporter, Shawn Boburg, ignoring important public-transportation stories, the editors might argue Road Warrior Columnist John Cichowski is taking up the slack.
But Cichowski has been stuck in the same groove of writing about driving minutiae for years. Here's a comment from a reader of northjersey.com on a recent Road Warrior column:
On Page L-11 today, two men are shown sitting in chairs facing the camera, and each has his hands folded, but the caption identifies them as American and Japanese auto executives "exchanging greetings" at a news conference on Monday.
On Saturday, months after watermelons appeared in the market, Better Living ran a cover story on how to choose one. Today, with fall in the air, the cover food story is on Asian cold-noodle dishes that refresh you in hot weather.