Saturday, November 12, 2011

Protecting all the sacred cows

Tuscaloosa Greensboro AvenueImage via Wikipedia
Tuscaloosa, Ala., now appears to be in The Record's circulation area.

Interim Editor Doug Clancy gives Governor Christie's education czar a front-page platform today to argue the GOP bully isn't anti-union.

LOL. That's like claiming head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes isn't chiefly responsible for The Record's pathetic coverage of Hackensack and other towns.

Shot in the foot

Did anyone read the caption under the big Veterans Day photo on Page 1? It's from Tuscaloosa, Ala. What's that doing on the front of a local North Jersey newspaper?

Veterans Day. Election Day. A big snowstorm that knocks out power to 175,000. (The biggest cheese to lose power was Francis "Frank" Scandale, the editor who was fired on Halloween, the day after the nor'easter, when he ran out of treats.)

The editors always seem to find one excuse or another for not covering municipal news. Today, there's lots of Veterans Day and election news crowding out just about everything else.

Anger management

In the week after the Oct. 30 snowstorm, Clancy and the other editors were  made so uncomfortable by the anger of PSE&G customers at the glacial pace of the cleanup, they often buried that frustration deep in stories and then banished the accounts to inside the Local section.

Guess what? They're still angry, and it's clearly evident from letters on A-11 today -- another case of the editors letting readers take on sacred cows like Public Service Electric & Gas Co. and the Board of Public Utilities.

The letters discuss a lack of coordination between local police and the utilities, a lack of communication among utilities and customers, Board of Public Utilities "cronies," a lack of preventative maintenance and the utilities trying to recover repair expenses through rate hikes.

If readers have to expose the sacred cows in letters -- because their voices are buried in news stories -- what are Clancy, Sykes, Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin and the others doing for all the  money they're being paid by Publisher Stephen A. Borg?

Iron stomachs

In Better Living, a cover story on chain restaurants is a slap in the face to locally owned restaurants and seems designed to keep the chains' advertising dollars flowing into the paper's coffers (F-1).

Only Legal Sea Foods, among the chains mentioned, has serious food. The Cheesecake Factory, for example, fails miserably in trying to reproduce every ethnic cuisine under the sun, and doesn't "offer good value," despite what the story says.

Where is Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung? Doesn't she have the stomach to sample chain food and write an honest assessment?

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