Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Good riddance to bad rubbish

The Pulitzer Prize gold medal awardImage via Wikipedia
The Pulitzer Prize eluded Editor Francis Scandale during his decade at The Record.


After more than a decade of mediocrity as editor of The Record, Francis "Frank" Scandale has been given the old heave-ho by Publisher Stephen A. Borg.

When Borg took over in mid-2006, Scandale had already been editor for about five years and had tried to reverse falling circulation with coverage aimed at 20-year-olds. 

Calling that a "failed strategy," Borg embarked on a series of major editorial decisions that reshaped the daily, then headquartered in Hackensack. 

Still, Borg promoted the editor to vice president, and paid him more than $200,000 a year. 

The end came on Halloween, two days after a snowstorm that paralyzed the region. Coverage in The Record by a skeleton weekend crew was pathetically weak -- typical of Scandale's recent performance.

Scandale, 54, came to The Record from The Denver Post, where he helped the staff win a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Columbine massacre. 

But he fell flat on his face covering the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on America -- the biggest story of his life -- when he failed to publish Staff Photographer Thomas E. Franklin's unique flag-raising photo on the front page.

In the years that followed, Scandale's flawed news judgment was evident time and again, especially when he gave Page 1 play to sports and the "business of sports," pushing New Jersey and North Jersey news inside.

He also played second fiddle to head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes, who many consider the real power in the newsroom.

Sykes and her clueless minions presided over the greatest erosion of local news coverage in the paper's history, especially after the move to Woodland Park in 2008.

In a trick-or-treat announcement on Monday from North Jersey Media Group, Borg said he is looking for a new editor who will show "bold and decisive leadership and relentless focus on the consumer."

Which is another way of saying Scandale had none of those qualities.

Scandale got rid of the paper's only Hispanic and black columnists, as well as the only female news columnist, and later took part in the spoiled Borg siblings' wholesale firing of older newsroom employees with 20 years to 30 years or more of service.

Now, it's his turn. It couldn't happen to a nastier guy.

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  1. Yay!
    maybe the paper will get better? One can only hope.
    Francis sounds like a real turd.

  2. Stephen wants "bold and decisive leadership and relentless focus on the consumer." And, btw, will work for $50,000.

    Good luck.

  3. It is no coincidence that the announcement of Frank's sacking comes on the day of the release of the latest ABC figures. Probably way down.

    Blame Mala
    Blame Frank
    Don't blame Dear Leader

    As Shakespeare said..."the fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars but in ourselves?

  4. "bold and decisive leadership and relentless focus on the consumer." Sounds like the perfect job for Doug Clancy.

  5. From the time that I was a paper carrier in the 70's, The Record has never been a "friend of the people it serves" or my "trusted local source". I have to ignore most of the tripe they profess as news to get to the things I want to read. When Jeff Tittel is the most frequently quoted and published individual not on staff, I can only shake my head. Just give me the local news - straight, please.

  6. Sorry MRA (Most Recent Anonymous), but I beg to differ. I don't think Jeff Tittel is the most frequently quoted and published non-staffer. I don't have the statistics in front of me, but I think that honor would have to go to Robert Zipf of the North Jersey Weather Observers. Uh-oh, the Weather Channel predicts a 10 percent chance of rain in Woodland Park tomorrow. Get Robert Zipf on the line, asap!

  7. Bob Ziff, perhaps?

  8. Ziff it is. Take that, Jeff Tittel. Uh oh, I saw a dead grasshopper in the parking lot, must be pesticides left over from when Woodland Park was a celery farm. Get Tittle on the horn, asap.


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