Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hey, we saw all of this on the TV news

Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...Image via CrunchBase
Many critics agree Steve Jobs of Apple exploited Chinese workers.

With a major battle brewing between Governor Christie and the state judiciary, why oh why is most of the front page devoted to an international story we saw on the TV news last night?

OK. Editor Francis Scandale of The Record may have been right in trying to localize the prisoner exchange in Israel.

But is Deena Yellin, an observant Othordox Jew, the only reporter who can handle the story, and does it have to run on Page 1?

Scandale seems to think so, allowing her to write endlessly about the Orthodox in North Jersey. Meanwhile, the Woodland Park daily neglects many other groups.

It reminds readers of how only Cuban exiles were assigned to news of Cuba or, more recently, two black reporters covered the opening of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington.

Put N.J. news first

The story from Israel is far less important to North Jersey than Christie defying the state judiciary, which is in the off-lead position on A-1 today.

The governor says he'll fight for a constitutional amendment to require 432 judges to accept his changes to pensions and health benefits. 

This is a major story -- with several potential sidebars -- but only one reporter is assigned to it. 

Readers have to wait for an editorial on A-10 to find out Christie is being somewhat hypocritical about his desire to control the salaries of public employees -- giving a pass to police and fire chiefs, among others.

His fight with the judges over pensions and benefits is his second, major confrontation with the judiciary. Christie succeeded in replacing the state Supreme Court's only black member with a white female lawyer.

Christie tax magic

On A-3, in a story about the first family's declining income, readers learn the Christies' property taxes dropped in 2010 -- while everyone else paid more.

Head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes' Local section is devoid of municipal news from Hackensack, Teaneck and Englewood.

The biggest news Sykes and her minions could find is the homecoming of a Saddle Brook man after four years in the hospital -- a story that was covered extensively on Tuesday's front page.

A couple of photos would have sufficed.

In another L-1 story, the controversy over reopening Pascack Valley Hospital in Westwood is called "Bergen County's epic health care battle" -- which makes readers wonder why thousands of inches have been devoted to The Valley Hospital's expansion plans in Ridgewood.

In Better Living, Food Editor Susan Leigh Sherrill's single weekly recipe (sticky buns) calls for 22 tablespoons of butter -- prompting a mobilization of cardiac-surgery teams at hospitals in Englewood and Hackensack.

Second look

The best reading in Tuesday's Better Living section was Robert Feldberg's review of "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," a one-man play created and performed by Mike Daisey.

Daisey's play contradicts much of the adulation heaped on Jobs by The Record and other media after his death Oct. 5.

Daisey says Apple, under Jobs' leadership, was "the peak of American capitalism," but also a low point "in its manipulation of customers and neglect of workers."

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