Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Insulting readers' intelligence

Thanksgiving turkey
Image by antonellomusina via Flickr
This turkey and all the trimmings were safely transported in a car
by following advice in today's Road Warrior column in The Record.

Publisher Stephen A. Borg appears to have seized upon "news you can use" in a bid to keep readers, but three pieces in the The Record today go a long way toward insulting their intelligence.

The story on A-6 and the Road Warrior column are especially bad, because they merely pass along a lot of common sense, such as getting enough sleep and eating before a car trip. 

You almost get the feeling the assignment desk believes most readers are completely out of it or have just been released from decades-long prison sentences.

The first supposedly reader-friendly story appears on Page 1 under a really stupid headline, "Think before going to the airport," thanks to Editor Liz Houlton's clueless news copy desk.

The routine photo with the story is by Staff Photographer Kevin Wexler, but interim Editor Doug Clancy continues a tradition of the editors turning their backs on their talented photographers by running an AP photo from Egypt as the central element on A-1.

Hospital follies

At the top of A-1, the headline "Big win for hospital plan" is not about the proposed expansion of The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood -- previewed in a story Tuesday -- but about the reopening of Pascack Valley Hospital in Westwood.

The off-lead on the front page -- a story about businesses chasing public contracts at the League of Municipalities Convention -- is eye-glazingly dull and goes on forever.

Look at the silly lead paragraph of the A-6 story on holiday driving: "If you're traveling by car for the Thanksgiving holiday, expect lots of company on the road."

Tie down that pot

In his statistics-packed column on the front of Local, Road Warrior John Cichowski's advice on holiday driving seems superfluous. (I just managed to skim it before throwing up.)

Do the editors really think the commuting columnist should spend time telling readers to tie down pots, trays and plates to keep them from shifting in the car and to bring towels in case of spills?

Instead of doing three pieces on holiday travel, why not wrap it all up in a single story, and eliminate the idiocy?

The only Hackensack news in head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes' Local section today concerns the homeless (L-2).

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