Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Follow the bouncing news ball

NJ Governor Chris ChristieImage by Bob Jagendorf via Flickr
Is this what 400 pounds looks like?

Boy's death stuns community

This Page 1 headline refers to Michael Cabaj, who was struck and killed by a train at 4:51 p.m. Monday in Garfield.

But his death wasn't good enough for Page 1 of The Record on Tuesday -- only for the Local front -- and supposedly the community wasn't stunned until Tuesday, so the story is promoted to the front page today.

Eye on The Record can only guess at the dysfunction inside the Woodland Park newsroom, but the last two editions speak volumes about lazy, clueless assignment editors working under the dead weight of Editor Deirdre Sykes, and Editor Francis Scandale scrambling day after day to find fresh news to fill  his beloved Page 1.

Exhausting news

Scandale must have exhausted himself berating the news copy desk to craft upbeat headlines on the multi-story A-1 package reporting Governor Christie's apparently final decision not to run for the White House.

Political Stile Columnist Charles Stile got the closest to one likely reason Christie is staying in New Jersey when he wrote, "In the end, it all came down to a gut check (A-8)."

That's right. Christie and his advisers took one look at his gut, and concluded the governor isn't healthy enough for a presidential campaign, recalling how he was hospitalized for an asthma attack in July.

Michael Drewniak, Christie's press secretary and chief spin doctor, has ignored questions about the governor's weight. Late-night comedian David Letterman has guessed Christie weighs 400 pounds.

An editorial on A-10 today notes, "Increasingly , we have found ourselves supporting his [Christie's] reform agenda."

That's certainly not news, given all the favorable Christie columns spilling from Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin since the GOP bully took office in January 2010.

On the same page, readers can find another in a series of letters from crackpots such as John Criscione of Fort Lee who blame President Obama for all of society's woes.

Railroad safety

On A-9, a photo shows two NJ Transit police officers. Who know the state mass-transit agency had cops who could guard railroad tracks and help prevent needless deaths, including the three Sunday night and Monday afternoon?

You certainly wouldn't know it from the columns of the office-bound John Cichowski, who has been masquerading as the Road Warrior. He's foaming at the mouth today, blaming the victims and lecturing readers about the physics of those big, bad trains (L-1).

Who cut out Cichowski's heart? More importantly, who cut out his brain and his instincts, so he doesn't question whether NJ Transit is doing all it can to make the tracks safer with fences and guards? 

Isn't he supposed to advocate for pedestrians, not state bureaucracies trying to limit their liability?

Just another killing

Sykes' assignment desk didn't think the murder of a Teaneck woman on Tuesday afternoon was good enough for Page 1 today or it held onto the story for the front of Local because it failed again to generate much municipal news.

Also, if you're killed in Teaneck, you have to be an Orthodox Jew to make The Record's front page. The victim in this case, Shaday Betancourt, appears to have been Hispanic.

The story mentions the victim's "family," but there are no details on whether the slain woman had children, parents or was employed. As far as Sykes is concerned, she's just another homicide victim, just another body.

Page L-2 today is dominated by news about the Englewood police, and L-3 resembles a police blotter.

From hunger

What a scam Food Editor Susan Leigh Sherrill has going on Publisher Stephen A. Borg, whose mind certainly isn't in the kitchen.

Her life-is-good smile is back on the front of Better Living in a photo accompanying her single weekly recipe, apple-date chutney. 

That's just what I've been missing in my diet. Now, I hope I can find an hour to make it.

Besides re-writing press releases for the Second Helpings blog on, tweeting and rubbing shoulders with celebrity chefs, she doesn't appear to do much else, making her the least active food editor in memory.

Two of her recent tweets refer to her husband, photographer Ted Axelrod, who sells photos to The Record and (201) magazine.

 Susan Sherrill 

Another fun morning photo shoot with  - apple date chutney for my  column. 
 Susan Sherrill 

Roasted oysters w/ herb butter, grilled squid, ribeye steaks, champagne - night in w/ : priceless!

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  1. Roasted oysters. grilled squid. ribeyes. champagne.

    How the other half eats.

  2. Indeed. Only the best for her and her husband, and tripe for the rest of us.


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