Thursday, October 20, 2011

Editors trot out pathetic seniors

Roosevelt Signs The Social Security Act: Presi...Image via Wikipedia
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the Social Security Act in 1935.

Where do you send a reporter to interview seniors about the first raise in Social Security benefits in three years?

If you are Editors Francis Scandale and Deirdre Sykes or one of their clueless minions -- who have shown only contempt for the elderly -- you assign your reporter to go to two senior centers and gather tales of "woe is me."

On Page 1 of The Record today, Staff Writer Colleen Diskin reports seniors fear much of the increase could be swallowed up by an expected hike in Medicare premiums.

Fair enough. Is that valid for all 55 million Social Security recipients?

Why didn't the reporter go to a couple of gyms, where many seniors work out every day? 

Why not interview a few seniors who regard Social Security as a nice supplement to their investment and other income when they're not off enjoying luxury river cruises in Europe and other travel?

Chasing 20-year-olds

When circulation began to fall a few years after Scandale took over as editor, his strategy was to try and attract readers in their 20s. 

That coverage was a slap in the face to readers 55 and over, the ones who have all the money to buy cars and other goods and services from the paper's advertisers.

Of course, the strategy failed, but Scandale was promoted to vice president, anyway.

In recent years, Scandale and Sykes have continued to ignore seniors, running far more stories on autism than Alzheimer's disease, and filling Local with numerous accident photos that portray the elderly as menaces behind the wheel.  

Today's A-1 story fortifies that image of a pathetic group living out their last years while scraping together enough money to feed and clothe themselves.

But Scandale didn't think Social Security is that big of a deal, certainly not as important as the battle over the re-opening of Pascack Valley Hospital in Westwood, a story that belongs on the front of Local, not taking up much of today's front page.

Hospitals that oppose the plan claim there are already 400 vacant beds in Bergen County -- a seeming impossibility given all the recipes the paper runs for baked goods made with sticks of butter and cups of heavy cream, and all the fatty prime beef recommended by its pudgy restaurant reviewer, Elisa Ung, or is it Ugh?

Animal farm

Any why waste space on the front page for a national story everyone saw on the TV news last night -- the deadly police safari in Zanesville, Ohio? Gee whiz, readers must be saying, as they strain to see the carcasses in the small photo on A-8.

When is the last time Scandale ran anything on the paralysis in Congress, rather than jumping on the media bandwagon of covering the 2012 presidential election, still more than a year away?

Look at all the space wasted on those moronic Republican Party candidates on A-11 today. Why not start coverage with the first primary, rather than report all the ridiculous jawboning in the debates?

In New Jersey, Governor Christie's attack on the judiciary over pension and health benefits doesn't seem to be going anywhere (A-3 and L-1). Why isn't that on Page 1?

On A-2, two more sports corrections -- following several others in recent weeks  -- suggest that department's copy desk has just started to make a lot of mistakes or just started acknowledging them. 

Earth-shaking news

Sykes' assignment desk came up with big news for L-1 today -- a minor fire in Teaneck and yet another story about six towns continuing to study "a proposed shared dispatching center."

When is someone going to "dispatch" Sykes and the rest of her incompetent assistant assignment editors, and replace them with people who can inspire reporters to cover their towns?

Today, readers won't find any municipal news from Englewood, Teaneck or many other communities, but more than 20 inches are devoted to an air show in West Milford (L-6).

In Hackensack news, a Syrian Orthodox church has dropped plans to expand in the Fairmount neighborhood -- the first municipal news from the city since Oct. 14, when a story about another church appeared.

In filler on L-3 today, an apparent production error resulted in an incomprehensible weather photo -- with a gray bar running along the bottom of the image.

Upsetting stomachs

The highly promotional Better Living cover story on upscale food at sports arenas doesn't say whether Madison Square Garden is aware MSG is the abbreviation for a flavor enhancer that causes headaches and other adverse reactions?

Will its MSG Signature Collection menu become associated with monosodium glutamate, whose widespread use caused "Chinese restaurant syndrome"?

A lot is missing from Staff Writer Kara Yorio's poorly reported story -- especially prices, and whether the hamburgers and chicken hot dogs with kimchi are naturally raised. 

Maybe her assignment editor wanted to downplay how sports arenas are just as intent on ripping off fans now as they were in the old days of preservative-filled hot dogs and pricey cups of beer.

And is Yorio serious in her gimmicky lead paragraph? "Not that long ago, sushi at a sports arena was the food choice of someone who finds food poisoning fun...."

What arena was serving spoiled raw fish to fans? Food poisoning is "fun"? Does anybody edit Better Living stories to ensure they don't sound like they were written by novices? 

Finally, is it just a coincidence that another promotional -- though poorly written -- story on the renovation of Madison Square Garden appears on A-4 today?

Why do almost all of Staff Writer John Brennan's stories sound like he's been bribed with season tickets?

Four years, no raise

An Anonymous comment from a reader of Eye on The Record has been added to the post, How much does Stephen Borg make?

The comment comes from someone who works in advertising. After a salary cut, this employee says he/she hasn't had a raise in nearly four years -- while Borg lives high on the hog in his $3.65 million Tenafly mansion.

The employee also asks whether one of the vice presidents quit.

Here is a link to the Stephen Borg post:

How much does Stephen Borg make?

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  1. Your reader is asking about tomorrow’s rumored departure of Mala Lawrence, VP of Declining Circulation. Although claiming “personal reasons”, the reality is that Ms. Lawrence is probably being summarily dismissed; a victim of both her incompetence in managing circulation and generally falling out of favor with Borg the Younger. Her usefulness as a spy, note-taker and all-purpose henchwoman were apparently no longer required. She might have been able to count, but apparently could not read which way the wind was blowing.

    She will not be missed.

    It also painfully points out the quality of people that BTY has entrusted with his entitlement. The competent staff has long ago been dismissed. Those that remain, particularly in news, are there only because Dear Leader knows nothing about news. The lackies among the weekly products also remain in place because no one is paying attention to the business as the overall quality of this once strong franchise continues to decline.

    Oh well.

  2. Hilarious as usual.
    I read the online version, it's astounding how they have the same stories up for WEEKS at a time, it appears we have two clumps of sports news daily.One for "PRO sports" one for High School. It's just a mess. Still talking about 9-11, the light rail, toxic dumps and bullying. And the PC "tech wizard" Peter Grad seems to trot out two or three columns per year. "E-mail me for a free copy of what you could easily get on your own online".. No longer funny Ervalino should just come out of the closet lately. He's an embarrassment. He's another one who's got it easy. Works from home, and just isn't funny. Neither are his parents his niece or his friend "Chicklet".

  3. She was well-compensated, but as you say, she won't be missed.

    Thanks for your insight into the sinking ship and Borg The Younger.

    We went from a benevolent drunk to a greedy dim-wit with no journalism credentials.

  4. What can I say but to agree with you that some of the veterans have barricaded themselves in their homes or offices and, thanks to an absentee publisher, they get away with turning out the same old crap week after week.

    Bill Ervolino, like columnists Mike Kelly and John Cichowski, is just a disgrace.

  5. As to the website, shhhhhh.
    Please do not wake them up. It makes look like the BBC.


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