Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Editors discover new homeless species

Homeless in ParisImage by Arslan via Flickr
The homeless in Paris live in stylish mini-tents on the banks of a river.

I guess the homeless in Bergen and Passaic counties should be grateful a Wyckoff lawyer has gone to court to defend their "right to shelter" on public land. 

But they might be asking why Barnert Temple in Franklin Lakes and one of its members, Jeffrey J. Wild, are fighting for "dozens" of homeless people living in a "tent city" in far off Lakewood, and not for them (A-1).

This is quite a story in The Record today, complete with a spotlight bio box and a total of four photos, including one of a tent with the proverbial white-picket fence. 

Wild certainly can't be the only North Jersey lawyer doing pro bono work. Is the coverage payback for work he or his Roseland law firm might have done for North Jersey Media Group or the Borg family?

Maybe he helps only the rare, tented homeless, not the garden-variety homeless in North Jersey. Or, perhaps, Wild owns one of those multimillion-dollar shore homes, and finds the Ocean County-based court case especially convenient.

Again, Editor Francis Scandale and one of his Page 1 stories raise a lot of unanswered questions. 

More horse manure

In response to zero phone calls from readers, Scandale again gives A-1 play to a story by Staff Writer John Brennan on deals to privatize horse-racing tracks.

On A-8, an editorial calls for more state funding of legal services for the poor with nary a word of criticism for Governor Christie, a lawyer who seems to believe only wealthy people deserve legal representation.

Proud reporters

On the front of head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes' Local section, Staff Writers Chris Harris and Matthew McGrath pull out all the stops on coverage of Memorial Day parades:
 "Practically every inch along the 1-mile parade route [in Bergenfield] was taken up by chairs occupied by proud Americans wearing patriotic tees. You could hear the oohing and aahing among the spectators as classic cars like the Mustangs and Challengers motored past."

Where are the news copy editors when you need them?

Mac Borg's hometown

I saw Englewood's poorly organized parade, and noticed big changes in that city's business district that have never been reported in The Record.

Ann Taylor, a national retailer, has closed its Palisade Avenue store, and the Blue Moon Mexican restaurant next door plans to take over the space. Will the Starbucks next to Blue Moon also expand?

The Mercedes-Benz dealer on Grand Avenue, where Chairman Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg once bought his tank-like sedans, has started an enormous expansion project stretching to South Dean Street.

But there still are plenty of empty storefronts on Palisade Avenue, including Green Line, a market that was paying a $25,000 monthly rental on the ground floor of a luxury apartment building, and an upscale bakery shop called La Dolce Divas.

A sign on the back door of Green Line says it is "closed for renovations."

Neglecting Hackensack

Hackensack reporter Monsy Alvarado, who was hand-picked for the job by Sykes, also has ignored hard times for Main Street, especially after The Record and NJMG moved to Woodland Park from 150 River Street.

Today, Alvarado has as story on a walking tour of Main Street that will focus on its past glory -- not its forlorn present (L-6).

Lots of hot air

Were you one of the 1,577 "lucky" New Jersey residents "to get" one of those portable air conditioners offered by a full-page ad on L-10 today? 

The call is free, but I don't see anything in the ad saying the unit is free.

The ad, like the editors, made you a sucker.
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Monday, May 30, 2011

It's a holiday from serving readers

Memorial Day FlagsImage by eddiecoyote via Flickr
Should any business have a message that begins, "Please listen ..."?

My copy of The Record was in its usual place on the sidewalk a little before 8 this morning.

But the crack circulation department apparently didn't listen to the forecast of rain, and the paper was soaked through three or four sections in its single plastic bag.

When I called the home delivery number, the automated system hadn't been activated, so I heard a message in a male voice that began, "Please listen ...." It told me the hours of the department and thanked me for calling.

You could almost see the employee's clenched teeth. 

Memorial Day IMG_4733Image by OZinOH via Flickr

I called the newsroom in Woodland Park and also got a recorded message that no one was there to take my call. And I couldn't leave a message.

Sure, I know it's Memorial Day. It comes around once a year. Is circulation aware of that?

A few minutes after 8, home delivery's automated system began working, but after following all the prompts to report a wet paper and request the delivery of a dry one, I was informed that because of the holiday the replacement won't be delivered until Tuesday.

I've laid out the sections to dry them. 

Today's paper is all wet

Most of Page 1 and all of the Local front is devoted to the same Memorial Day coverage readers see every year, especially since 9/11.

Of course, Editor Francis Scandale and head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes know perfectly well all this recounting of heroics and how young men were blown to smithereens fills the space of local-news stories they don't have.

It also lets Columnist Michael Kelly off the hook. He can just reshuffle the words of a past Memorial Day column, knowing the editors aren't paying any attention (L-1). 

Sure this is news?

The routine shore-outlook story on A-1 today likely will be followed by a mid-summer update and a Labor Day wrap-up.

Also on the front page, Staff Writer Harvy Lipman reports a North Jersey resident went to help out after a natural disaster in another part of the country. Why is this even news?

On A-12, a column by Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin suggests Governor Christie will run for the presidency in 2016.

Doblin is counting on the national electorate ignoring, as he has, how Christie is trying to destroy the middle-class way of life in New Jersey, while selling out to his wealthy supporters and other special interests.
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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Editors warn whites of big changes

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - MAY 15:  Author and Honora...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Rutgers University paid a famous author $30,000 to speak.

The Record's desperate editors rub their hands in glee at census time, knowing they can trot out another long story, big photo and graphics to soak up space on Page 1 whenever they have no legitimate news.

Indian numbers rising

That's a weird main head -- is it intended as a warning to white readers about growing Asian immigration to North Jersey? Or is it just old news in one of the most ethnically diverse states in the nation?

Why is the lead A-1 story today reporting the resignation of the Rutgers University president, whom I have never heard of?

Out of mothballs

And where did the editors find that third front-page story -- on an obscure environmental controversy in Englewood -- by Giovanna Fabiano, who jumped ship weeks ago for the Patch online local-news site?

There is bigger news on A-4, where a story reports Governor Christie has succeeded in unloading NJN on WNET Channel 13, the PBS station. 

Littering news

In Local, what's the connection between commuting problems and a man who volunteers to clean up Paterson highway ramps (Road Warrior column, L-1)?

It's no surprise Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli refused to talk to Staff Writer Jean Rimbach about two unsolved Teaneck killings (L-1).

Rimbach, the least productive reporter on the staff, led the so-called investigation of onetime Molinelli aide Michael Mordaga -- a failed effort that produced a single, weak story not even good enough for Page 1 in 2009.

Out of gas

Two weeks after prices peaked, the Business staff finally got around to advising readers on how to save money at the gasoline pump -- by reprinting a Wall Street Journal column (B-4).

Staff Writer Elisa Ung long ago ran out of ideas for her Sunday restaurant column, The Corner Table. Today, in a piece on farmers' markets, she doesn't even tell you which restaurants serve fresh, pesticide-free produce (F-1).

Our 'deceitful' guv

In Opinion, a new column by Professor Brigid Harrison reports Christie is denying women funds for breast-cancer screenings -- like the one that helped extend his own mother's life by 20 years (O-2).

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sands of time yield murder conviction

View of the New Meadowlands Stadium from the p...Image via Wikipedia
Women pay for shorter restroom lines at the New Meadowlands Stadium.

Dominating the front page of The Record today is a guilty verdict in a murder trial few readers followed as closely as Editor Francis Scandale did.

One man's freedom ended, but the other major Page 1 stories are about getting away -- high gas prices for the Memorial Day weekend and the condition of the state's famed beaches.

Kevin DeMarrais' A-1 column on the summer driving season should have appeared Friday -- the traditional start of the holiday weekend -- but I guess it was crowded out by earth-shaking news.

I'm still waiting for Your Money's Worth to tell readers they can save about 11 cents to  17 cents a gallon by using a cash-rebate credit card at service stations.

Cold-case verdict

The trial of Stephen Scharf of Morris County accomplished two things: 

It rescued a conviction from bumbling police work 19 years ago, and forced Staff Writer Kibret Markos, who covered the trial, to cut down drastically on his smoking breaks in front of the Bergen County Courthouse.

On A-4 today, Governor Christie keeps up the double-talk on greenhouse-gas emissions. He's content with the "green" credentials he gets from giving tax breaks to millionaires and wealthy business owners.

No shit, Sherlock

Who knew there is at least one venue where the lines to the men's room actually are longer than to the women's room?

Head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes' Local news section updates readers on waste management today -- with breaking news on the addition of more men's rooms at the New Meadowlands Stadium (L-1).

It's too bad the story by Staff Writer John Brennan only serves to remind  readers how his work, and the local columns, don't rise much above the level of bowel movements.

Early getaway

The Woodland Park daily's assignment editors must have gotten an early start on the holiday by the looks of the huge photos on L-2 and L-3 -- apparently blown up by the layout editors to fill holes where local news would normally appear.

A full page of Memorial Day events appears today (L-5), supplementing the listing that ran Friday and another set for Sunday. A-2 carries a correction of one Friday listing.

Meat market

Better Living Editor Barbara Jaeger continues her comprehensive food coverage today with an F-1 story on how a butcher from New Jersey fared on "The Bachelorette."

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Did business leader set a poor example?

PassaicImage by yourdoku via Flickr
Did a Passaic landlord know he wasn't getting a water bill for 20 years?

The owner of a Passaic city apartment building that didn't pay its water bill for 20 years is a business leader in Hackensack, according to an anonymous source.

Eye on The Record received this message after I posted commentary on Thursday's Page 1 stories:
 "Interesting comments on the water-bill story. The owner of that [Passaic] building is Jerry Lombardo, the chairman of Upper Main Street Alliance [in Hackensack]. How can you not realize you haven't gotten a water bill in 20 years?"
The A-1 story Thursday by Staff Writer Richard Cowen identified the building owner as Gregory Realty LLC, but didn't mention Lombardo or ask if Gregory Realty was aware for two decades it wasn't paying a water bill for the 96-unit building. 

An Internet search found a Gregory Realty Company of Passaic LLC at 335 Main St. in Hackensack, but that name doesn't appear on the door. "C.J. Lombardo Co. Realtors, Est. 1936" is written on a brown awning over the door. 

If Lombardo was aware the building didn't pay a water bill for 20 years, it would set a poor example for members of the Upper Main Street Alliance, a group of business owners who are assessed to help make the street more attractive to shoppers and diners.

Today's paper

You have to plow through the lead story on greenhouse gases and turn to the continuation page before you learn Governor Christie diverted $65 million from energy efficiency projects to balance the state budget (A-1 and A-8).

The state earned a total of $102 million from the regional program. Who do you believe on whether the initiative cut greenhouse gases -- Christie or the Sierra Club? 

Why was a municipal judge for three towns allowed to hold so many other public and private jobs, and why didn't the Woodland Park daily report the story the day after the May 19 filing of a state complaint (A-1) ?

Road kill

Commuters are keeping their fingers crossed the Road Warrior column will be one of the inevitable fatalities this Memorial Day weekend (L-1). 

Oh, I forgot, the editors kill your column only if you're a woman, Hispanic or black -- and error-prone John Cichowski is none of those. 

Head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes' Local news section is filled with still more police, fire and court stories today.

Clever but dense

Better Living's copy editors came up with a clever headline for the restaurant review today, "Chow bella."

But Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung is so blinded by her obsession with dessert nothing else seems to matter.

She spends more than half of the review boring readers with the chef/owner's resume and his plans to grow vegetables on the roof, but never tells them whether the pork and veal she sampled were pumped full of delectable antibiotics and growth hormones.
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rounding up news of senior citizens

Zabriskie Christie HouseImage via Wikipedia
Old houses and old people -- they're all the same to The Record's editors.

The Record's editors have spent so much time in the past decade making the lives of older newsroom workers miserable, they've neglected news about senior citizens -- until today.

The older population in Bergen County is growing, Page 1 declares. That's earth-shaking news? The census-based story is as much about the increasing number of children in Passaic County's immigrant centers.

Don't expect to see more stories in the Woodland Park daily about Alzheimer's disease or the challenges facing older drivers. 

Editor Francis Scandale and head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes just don't give a shit -- and the same is true about the spoiled Borg siblings' attitude toward their father, Chairman Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg.

Oldsters and porn

In a roundup of senior news, Scandale made sure to find room on A-1 to promote child-pornography charges against a 63-year-old art teacher in Cliffside Park (L-1).

Pornography? Is that the only thing old people are good for? 

What happened to that lawsuit by a former employee, who alleged the elder Borg used a company computer to send pornography to other male managers?

$40,000 ceiling

Older workers at The Record have been looking over their shoulders since Publisher Stephen A. Borg was overheard several years ago saying he dreamed of a newsroom where no one made more than $40,000 a year. 

Veteran workers found Features Director Barbara Jaeger especially difficult to get along with, and Jaeger hounded Food Editor Patricia Mack into retirement in 2006 -- replacing her with an inexperienced man half her age.

It doesn't add up

The off lead A-1 story today -- on settlement of a 20-year-old water bill -- contains confusing numbers. First, readers are told $1.6 million was in dispute, but just before the jump, the numbers add up to only $1,340,000.

Still, the reporter made sure to tell readers how impressed he was with the size of a 96-apartment building, calling it "huge" in the lead paragraph.

Page A-2 has two embarrassing corrections, including one about a misidentified member of the Ramsey Board of Education. Ouch.

Sykes' Local section is filled with historical news, as well as court and police stories, but is light on municipal news, as usual.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Editors climb into bed with Christie

Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island, New JerseyImage via Wikipedia
The Road Warrior tackles boating issues at the start of Fleet Week.

Why is Governor Christie's statement on the state Supreme Court education ruling printed in full on Page A-13 today?

This unprecedented sellout by Editor Francis Scandale, Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin and OpEd Page Editor Peter Grad is the journalism equivalent of a blow job.

If Doblin again has climbed into bed to have sex with the Republican bully, Scandale or Grad better join them to prevent the governor from rolling over and snuffing out their diminutive colleague. 

More Christie coverage

Christie also is quoted in the Page 1 story by Staff Writer Leslie Brody and in Doblin's A-12 editorial, both of which continue to portray court-ordered education funding as a battle between rich and poor -- while ignoring the broken property-tax and home-rule systems.

More Christie jaw-boning appears in the column by Staff Writer Charles Stile on A-8. Enough already.

The Christie statement on unlucky A-13 also displaced Jim Ahearn's column -- on Bergen Community College President Jerry Ryan -- from its usual spot at the top of the page.

This is the first time I've seen an editor or former editor publicly criticize any story as ill-conceived, unfair and poorly reported.

Journalism whores

Of course, Ahearn is referring to last week's Page 1 hatchet jobs on Ryan's expense account from head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and Staff Writer Pat Alex. What trash.

In a nod to the start of Fleet Week in New York, Road Warrior John Cichowski makes commuters sea sick with an L-1 column on boating (&*@????#!$%).

Staff Writer John Gavin's assignment editor deserves a journalism award for guiding his story on the purchase of breathing equipment for Wood-Ridge  firefighters (L-2).

Imagine the local news possibilities. A story could be written on every purchase by the hundreds of municipal agencies in North Jersey -- from ambulances to firetrucks and police cruisers to more breathing apparatus.

Missed story

The Woodland Park daily hasn't covered the liquidation in Hackensack of the Best Western Oritani Hotel and adjoining Ichiban Japanese steakhouse, which are closed and will be demolished to make way for apartments.

The liquidator, a tall, gray-haired man, said Wednesday this is the first time in his 20 years in business the media have ignored such a liquidation in a city the size of Hackensack. It began May 5.

Long-time staffers may remember the Oritani as one of the hotels where management put them up during blizzards and floods.

Another ho

Better Living's comprehensive food coverage continues today with a recipe and cookbook promotion by Food Editor Susan Leigh Sherrill (F-1). 

Sherrill appears beholden to promote every free cookbook that lands on her desk.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It's a democracy everywhere but here

Photo of the Borough Hall in Leonia, New Jersey.Image via Wikipedia
Leonia is virtually ignored by The Record's Local section.

Isn't it rich?

The off-lead story in The Record of Woodland Park today says Ramsey might ban free speech "on school property when children are present" (A-1).

Free speech has been banned in the newsroom for ages, and editors reminded reporters, "This isn't a democracy."

In recent years, Vice President and General Counsel Jennifer A. Borg has rushed into court to defend the paper's First Amendment rights, then turned around and disciplined whistle-blowers and other employees who spoke their minds. 

Page A-2 today has four embarrassing corrections, including one that fixes a Page 1 story from May 17. 

Politically obsessed

On the front of Local, why does Columnist Charles Stile portray the attempt to restore $7.4 million to Planned Parenthood clinics as a battle between Democrats and Republicans?

Isn't he enough of a journalist and columnist to declare Governor Christie "insensitive to women," without reference to politics?

Now that Teaneck reporter Joseph Ax left the paper, township resident and local-obit reporter Jay Levin is picking up the slack with a story on the community vegetable garden (L-1). 

Who is picking up the slack in Englewood, Englewood Cliffs and Leonia now that Staff Writer Giovanna Fabiano has left?

See previous post on AOL Patch

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'Grateful' editors seek news handouts

PALO ALTO, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  The AOL logo is ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
AOL offices in Palo Alto, Calif.

"Enter your tip here and it will be sent straight to James Kleimann, Tom Troncone, Giovanna Fabiano, and Laura Bertocci, Ridgewood Patch's (incredibly grateful) editors."
Patch editors work from home. Can't you just see Troncone getting fat on beer and preservative-laden bratwurst?

Judging from how many stories she ignored or missed in Englewood, Fabiano must have spent the last few years working from home while on The Record's payroll.

Actually, the Woodland Park daily is good training for Patch aspirants. The assignment editors under Sykes honed the art of sitting back and waiting for the news to come to them.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Once over -- superficially

Northbound New Jersey Route 208 1/4 mile from ...Image via Wikipedia
How many Fair Lawn synagogues have closed or merged with others?

The Record's front page today continues to pour thousands of words on the heated debate over teacher tenure, but where is the discussion of family life, parents and other outside influences on student success?

I guess Editor Francis Scandale and Staff Writer Leslie Brody have swallowed Governor Christie's argument that teachers have to go unless they perform miracles in the classroom.

Is it really Page 1 news -- in the form of a large photo, caption and refer to L-6 -- that a Fair Lawn family gave a new torah to their synagogue or should editors be assigning reporters to find out how many Jewish temples in North Jersey have closed or merged with others in recent years?

Towering journalist

Every few weeks, it seems, Staff Writer Shawn Boburg writes a story about the 9/11 memorial or museum, and it appears on A-1. You'd think the Port Authority, the agency he covers, does nothing else.

A story on how Christie slashed legal services for the poor appears on A-3. 

When you have to make up nearly $1 billion you're not getting from taxing millionaires, all other residents suffer.

Local yokels

No Hackensack, Englewood or Teaneck municipal news appears today in head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes' Local section.

But Columnist Mike Kelly has another 9/11 piece on L-1 today as he reaches for his goal of writing about every one of the nearly 3,000 victims who died that day.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dreary Sunday, dreary Sunday paper

Avalon has many beaches on the New Jersey shore.Image via Wikipedia
The Record reports an MTV show "re-branded" the New Jersey shore.

Editor Francis Scandale did his best to match the Sunday paper to the dreary weather we've been having in North Jersey.

You know he's just collecting a paycheck when two of the three stories on Page 1 of The Record today are dry process stories -- on teacher tenure and the state's pension deficit.

The Woodland Park daily's consumer columnist doesn't help readers save money at the gas pump. And the restaurant columnist doesn't help readers navigate all the new restaurant discounts and promotions.

So, it was a pleasant surprise to see a story on the Local front today about raising cash with a garage sale by Staff Writer Jay Levin, the local obituary reporter.

Detour ahead

Road Warrior Columnist John Cichowski has lost it. If you can figure out what he's saying on L-1 today -- especially the second paragraph with its double negative -- you should get a reward.

Town reporter Melissa Hayes has three stories in Local today, but I don't see anything by Hackensack reporter Monsy Alvarado or Englewood reporter Giovanna Fabiano.


In Business, a reporter seems to have fallen for a one-liner by a wealthy mattress executive, who claims his snoring keeps his wife up (B-6). Is it credible he hasn't found one of the over-the-counter snoring remedies?

In Better Living, it's bad enough the food editor promotes a new cookbook every week, but now The Corner Table Columnist Elisa Ung is shilling for a book on family recipes (F-1).

Exposing an 'expose'

In Opinion, a letter to the editor from Patrick Ragosta of Dumont dismisses two A-1 "exposes" last week on Bergen Community College President Jerry Ryan and, indirectly, today's silly column by Mike Kelly on O-1.

Ragosta points out Ryan raised $3.8 million in donations for the college in 2010 and put in for less than $30,000 in expenses.

In Travel, Staff Writer Mike Kerwick invokes that inane TV show, "Jersey Shore," in writing about his childhood summers in Manasquan (T-1). 

The shore, one of the state's great assets, doesn't need a TV show to give it legitimacy.

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

The lazy Record way to cover a big story

A view of Paterson, New Jersey, as seen from t...Image via Wikipedia
This is close as Editor Francis Scandale wants to get to Paterson.

For the second day in a row, Editor Francis Scandale on Friday refused to order his staff to gather local reaction to President Obama's controversial Mideast peace plan.

"Hey, just take the wire services. I spent the whole morning at that 'Meet the Media' thing, and now I've got to get to the golf course," Scandale told his sub-editors. "Who cares what all those North Jersey Jews and Arabs think?"

Readers see the result today on A-1 and A-12 of The Record of Woodland Park. Anything in head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes' Local section? Nope.

Maybe if the Jews of Englewood or the Syrian-Americans in Paterson sent Scandale money, he'd pay more attention to them. 

Visa woes

Jamaicans, Colombians and residents of many other countries can't visit the United States without a visa, so why are the Poles getting such special treatment on Page 1 today?

Two embarrassing corrections appear on A-2 today.

Sexless victim

In Local, a photo and story report police failed to check between the legs to determine the sex of "a person" rescued from a small lake in Little Ferry (L-2).

Staff Writer Monsy Alvarado wrote one story after the Hackensack City Council meeting on Tuesday, then checked into a rest home.

Two more stories from the same meeting -- about red-light cameras and a new cultural center for the city -- finally appear on L-2 and L-3 today.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Access to editor comes at a price

Official seal of East Rutherford, New JerseyImage via Wikipedia
Editor Francis Scandale was set to make a rare public appearance today.

Editor Francis Scandale was scheduled to appear this morning at a "Meet the Media Event" and hear story ideas pitched to him by the public. Tickets to the event were $65 to $105.

"Attendees will have the opportunity to present story ideas directly to North Jersey media representatives," according to a brief that ran Wednesday on Page L-9 in The Record of Woodland Park.

He was not named in the item. Most of the other media representatives at the event were from TV, including My 9 News and Telemundo.

The event, at the Sheraton Meadowlands Hotel in East Rutherford, was sponsored by the Fair Media Council, a business group. Scandale was not paid to appear, the group said.

The Fair Media Council is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, founded in 1979, and comprised of about 200 New York-metro businesses "who understand quality local news is vital to maintaining the health, well being and vitality of the region in which they live and do business," according to the group's Web site.

"The power of local news is an awesome force," the council says, adding:.

"At its worst, news is the problem.  Inaccurate coverage creates problems that don't really exist.  A lack of coverage enables issues to escalate.  When erroneous messages and perceptions are relayed to the public in the press, the news has the incredible ability to close minds.

"At its best, news opens the door to the world.  It  educates, even inspires ... and is the first step toward a solution, whatever the issue, wherever the town."

Out of ideas

Does Scandale's appearance at a "Meet the Media" event mean he is officially out of story ideas and can no longer rely on head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and her clueless minions? 

The Fair Media Council was started in 1979, yet I have never heard of it. If it represents about 200 businesses, isn't it a glorified public relations agency?

The Record already is filled with stories promoting businesses and books --  little more than cleverly disguised advertising -- and the occasional piece on a wealthy lawyer or private-jet saleswoman who does business with the Borg family.

How much more disservice should readers expect from Publisher Stephen A. Borg, a marketing whiz who supplanted Scandale and made over the paper in his own entrepreneurial image? 

Today's paper

Scandale, Sykes and the staff couldn't overcome their inertia to report local reaction among North Jersey Jews and Arabs to President Obama's vision for peace in the Middle East, a story that leads the paper today.

Why use a photo from Ramallah on A-8, when there are plenty of Palestinian businesses in South Paterson? 

On A-2 today, the accuracy-challenged Better Living section fixes an incorrect address for a pancake house in Paramus. 

What would Scandale and Sykes do for news if they didn't have college graduations to plaster all over the paper (L-1)?

Sykes is mulling whether to tell readers that a computer has been writing the Road Warrior's L-1 column for more years than she cares to admit by synthesizing and regurgitating hundreds of columns by Staff Writer John Cichowski, who now is living in his car, "Mr. Honda."

Swiss miss

The Swiss must have holes in their heads, as well as in their cheese, if they picked Tenafly for a satellite-controlled clock like the ones in use at 3,000 railway stations in Switzerland (L-1)

Gas-guzzling Tenafly officials and residents are fighting tooth and nail to stop extension of electrified light-rail service to the borough.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ethics policy is tossed out the window

Logo of Bergen Community CollegeImage via Wikipedia

The Record today continues trying to manufacture more controversy over the Bergen Community College president's expense account, but nowhere does the paper explain why editors from the Woodland Park daily and (201) magazine allowed Jerry Ryan to buy them breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Publisher Stephen A. Borg and Record Editor Frank Scandale appear to have discarded the paper's ethics policy, which bars accepting anything of value from new sources.

The long, detailed Page 1 story published on Wednesday buried Ryan's meals with the editors near the end. The initial story, today's A-1 follow and an editorial on A-20 today don't mention whether alcohol was consumed or identify the editors. 

And on Wednesday, readers didn't find out Ryan spent far less than his $50,000 annual cap unless they slogged through the story and turned to the continuation page.

'Top-shelf booze'

In trying to put Ryan in the worst light possible, Staff Writer Pat Alex used loaded language, such as: "The tab often included booze -- top-shelf booze."  And she quoted Ryan saying his waistline suffered from all the meals.

"Top-shelf booze?" That's rich coming from a reporter whose salary allows to her to shop only at the Cheap Beer Depot on Route 4. 

And what kind of "booze" do you suppose Chairman Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg guzzled at one time? 

What kind of wine do the younger Borg and big sister, Vice President Jennifer A. Borg, sip at Grand Cru, the Englewood wine bar they invested in?

As for Ryan's admitted weight problem, Alex, the elder Borg, head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and Projects Editor Tim Nostrand -- all easily dwarf him.  

Hogging credit

Governor Christie is taking credit for an unexpected surge in tax revenue. Most other observers point to the success of the stock market (A-1 and A-4).

But students at William Paterson College are no fools, turning their backs to Lt. Gov. Kim Guadano in a protest over higher education cuts (A-1 and L-1).

Adieu to IMF

Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as chief of the International Monetary Fund, The New York Times reported early today, but kept his membership in the International Mother F-----s (A-5).

Buying votes

Columnist Charles Stile blasts Christie and the Democrats for buying votes with homestead "tax credits," while public education and many other programs suffer (L-1)

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