Sunday, November 20, 2011

News is really thin and so is the paper

 Image by Aaron Landry via Flickr
A Record columnist tries to compare Occupy Wall Street protesters, above and below, with the Kardashian sisters, whose book signing was played all over Page 1 last week.
100111 open streets on state street-13
Image by Kymberly Janisch via Flickr

Is the major element on Page 1 today supposed to be the paper's first expose of official inaction relating to a highly toxic chemical spreading under a Garfield neighborhood "for almost three decades"?

Hey, interim Editor Doug Clancy, why haven't we read about all the official inaction on flooding, decrepit local buses, segregated schools in Englewood and the wasteful home-rule system of government, among a long list of perennial problems in North Jersey?

The off-lead story on a seasonal spike in break-ins cites "top police brass." How ridiculous. What makes them "brass," the inflated salaries that no one, even Governor Christie, seems able to cap?

With gasoline prices hovering between $3 and $4 a gallon, would anyone really notice raising the gasoline tax a few cents to fix roads and bridges?

Fudging numbers

Christie fears he'd be voted out of office if he did so, hence his proposal to borrow $8 billion over the next five years -- without voter approval (A-1). The lead paragraph says "several" billion dollars; "several" usually refers to four or five, not eight.

Also, how are readers going to decide if a long-delayed hike in the low gas tax is better than borrowing the money, if the story doesn't ever say how much the tax would have to go up and whether it would also fund mass-transit improvements?

The awkward A-3 headline -- "Making a N.J. beach safer" -- could have been avoided by simply writing, "Making a beach safer," since it appears under a "STATE NEWS" banner.

Dashing editor

The Local section, the pride and joy of head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes, contains little municipal news today, and nothing from Hackensack.

But there was room for a photo of a "Kiddie Dash" in Harrington Park, where Sykes lives, but the caption doesn't say whether she took part.

The most readable story is the local obituary on Mary-Alice W. Kattwinkel of Clifton (L-3). The section is so thin, a wire-service obit was needed to fill space (L-6).

It seems to be an "issues" edition -- red-light cameras, black college enrollment, older drivers, Korean War veterans and holiday food drives. 

Why did the assignment desk cover a health fair (L-3)? Out of desperation?

Out of touch

Road Warrior John Cichowski has a rare column on older drivers, but why ignore the tens of thousands over 64 (L-1)?

And someone should tell the moron the biggest problems facing older drivers have nothing to do with passing a driving test; many mistake the gas pedal for the brake pedal, and their vision, hearing and reaction times are impaired.

Maybe Cichowski can get off his ass and find out if there are programs to help them become better drivers, instead of taking pot shots at them for not knowing the driving "rules" he constantly obsesses over.

Copy desk follies

The caption on the big L-1 photo today clearly shows a teen carrying a donated turkey toward a large, open cardboard box filled with other shrink-wrapped birds, so why did the news copy editor write, "Jonathan Lombardi, 14, bringing a contribution to a box ..."?

On the Business front, Your Money's Worth Columnist Kevin DeMarrais writes about seniors citizens like himself who are financially secure and enjoy life, including travel (B-1) -- in contrast to recent stories that portrayed all older people as scrambling to make ends meet on Social Security.

Brain fart

The phrase "His brain is in his penis" was invented for Columnist Mike Kelly, who today compares Occupy Wall Street protesters to the Kardashian bimbos (O-1).

I'll bet Publisher Stephen A. Borg is eating his heart out over the photo and caption on the front of Real Estate today (R-1).

If he just stayed in his $2 million home and didn't take out a $3.65 million company mortgage to buy a Tenafly McMansion at the top of the market, he could have gotten a $6.88 million home in tony Saddle River for only $3.35 million.

What a deal.

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  1. If he keeps running the business like he has, the McMansion will become a short sale in short order. Short sale for Little Napoleon? Appropriate.



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