Sunday, October 23, 2011

Official inaction is everywhere you look

MushroomsImage by redspotted via Flickr
The Record today is "mad about mushrooms."

No fix for high property tax bills. Weak government ethics laws. Uncertain funding for education and affordable housing. 

And starting in 2018 -- thanks to Governor Christie's sleight of hand -- yearly payments of $5 billion tax dollars to fund the state pension system.

And those are only the problems listed in stories on the front page and A-3 of The Record today. 

What about the lack of long-term solutions to flooding? Or persistent unemployment. Or Christie's refusal to tax millionaires. Or the sad state of mass transit in one of the most congested regions in the country?

Even the Bergen County sheriff is defying attempts to eliminate duplication in law enforcement (A-1 and L-1).

Senior moments

Editor Francis Scandale is really hanging crepe with Page 1 today. 

If you send reporters only to senior centers and nursing homes, you're going to find nothing but hard-luck seniors, such as those shown eating a free lunch in Mahwah (A-1).

Scandale and head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes continue to ignore Bergen County's wealthy seniors, the ones with vacation homes and European travel plans -- just as they ignore Alzheimer's disease and the challenges facing older drivers.

They find it so much easier to write stories off Census 2010 data -- as with today's piece on social services for seniors. It's a neat package that requires a minimum of enterprise and legwork, perfect for Sykes' lazy assignment minions.

At the bottom of A-1, The Associated Press -- the news agency that practices body-count journalism in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere -- reports the "world is more peaceful than ever," according to the headline.

Local news holiday

By the looks of the Local section today, municipal news took a holiday this weekend.

On L-1, Road Warrior John Cichowski responds sarcastically to readers who say his past reporting has been inaccurate or incomplete.

There is so little local news, minor fires in North Arlington and Paramus are reported on L-3 and L-7, respectively.

Another great job by Sykes and her crack assignment desk or is it cracked? 

Smoking shrooms

Better Living Staff Writer Kara Yorio's cover story on mushrooms sounds like she was smoking something and no one bothered to edit her ("Mad about mushrooms," F-1).

"In the fall, we get mushrooms in the heartier and richer dishes that keep us warm in the cooler weather.

"A quick look at menus at a few local restaurants shows us that mushroom lovers need not search very hard to meet a mushroom craving."

And, "The wide variety of mushrooms lends itself to a wide variety of mushroom dishes."

Truffles are called "expensive little guys."

To cut costs in recent years, editors at The Record have given reporting work to low-paid editorial clerks, who don't have the experience or journalism education of reporters.

Yorio is one of the most productive Better Living staffers, but her work needs polish. 

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  1. I found it amusing when I saw a paragraph heading "REPORT IS TRAST" in the the L-1 article about our angry Bergen County sheriff and the report to identify law enforcement duplications. At first, I thought to myself that "trast" might be one of these government bureaucratic terms that I never heard of. I eagerly read on to learn exactly what is meant by "trast. As I read a freeholder’s derisive comments, I then chuckled when I realized the heading was a typo and should have been "REPORT IS TRASH".

    Once again, as he has done many times before, the Road Warrior presents his sarcastic and demeaning reasons that contain even more misleading, inaccurate, contradictory, and incomplete info when responding to readers who question his sanity, I mean his misreported facts.

  2. The page one map was terrible. Too small, no labels (how many readers could tell you where Garfield is?) and it didn't tell a story. Sheingold has done better.

  3. Thanks. I missed that "trash" typo.

    You're so right about the Road Warrior, but he's barricaded himself inside his chocolate-colored tower.

  4. For too many years, graphics have been driven by the clueless assignment editors.

    The graphics artists aren't word people, and their stuff is filled with typos and other errors, copied directly from unedited material sent over by the assignment editors, who are at the root of what is wrong with the paper.

    Most of the maps are merely space fillers, anyway.

  5. Victor, I am surprised you did not mention this farce from Elisa Dung

    She goes down a list of upscale restaurants that the Record paid for her to eat at. What world does this woman live in?

    I have to love her mention of the kid's menu featuring salmon and baby back ribs.

  6. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

    I just looked at the A-1 map Sunday. Without labels, it looks like a jigsaw puzzle. Does anybody think readers are going to spend more than a few minutes trying to find their towns before shaking their heads in disgust?

    And it was done by the head graphics editor, no less. What a joke -- on readers.

    That "Report is trast" appears on L-8, and I never got that far.

  7. Thanks, Chuck:

    Geez. I must have forgotten to look inside Better Living after I commented on that silly mushroom story.

    I'll take a look today at Elisa Ung's Sunday column.


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