Saturday, June 30, 2012

Editors wilt under Marty's demands

U.S. Supreme Court building.
The "What it means to you" box on The Record's front page on Friday distilled the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the health-care law into easily understood elements. Good work.

There has been one constant since a veteran New York Times editor took over The Record's newsroom in late January:

The assignment and news copy desks -- which long ago gave up the pretense of serious local journalism -- have been unable to keep up with the demands of Editor Marty Gottlieb, who is trying to give readers news coverage that approaches the length, depth and complexity of The Times itself.

As a result, local-news reporters are being pulled off their beats at an alarming rate, and assignment and copy editors are making serious errors in news stories -- even those on Page 1 -- that are rarely corrected. 

Page 1 error

On Thursday, the lead, front-page story misquoted the prosecutor in a sub-headline and in the first paragraph on what Malik Williams, 19, of Garfield allegedly was doing before he was shot and killed by police last Dec. 10.

The head and deputy assignment editors, and the supervisor of the news copy desk -- where the headline was written -- completely dropped the ball, and Williams was said to be "charging" at two officers and a police dog with a hammer and a saw in the moments before he was shot five times.

Molinelli flees

Prosecutor John L. Molinelli's statement had said something far less serious -- that Williams "advanced towards" the officers -- and Molinelli didn't meet with reporters or Williams' mother to answer questions.

Significantly, a follow-up on Friday's Local front never used the word "charging" when describing Williams' actions (L-1).

Did you see the hilarious video on North, showing a flustered Molinelli fleeing out a side door of a meeting room after shouting, "Not now," when confronted by Williams' mother and her supporters on Wednesday? 

The Record's story on Thursday only referred briefly to the confrontation, without highlighting its comic elements.

Local news suffers

Hackensack reporter Stephanie Akin was assigned to the Williams story on Wednesday and Thursday, even though it has nothing to do with her beat.

What is clear is that Hackensack municipal news has plummeted in recent years as head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and Deputy Assignment Editor Dan Sforza assigned Akin and her predecessor, Monsy Alvarado, to anything but coverage of the city.

News of aliens

Just below the Williams story on Thursday's front page the bylines of three reporters appear over a story that makes much ado about nothing:

What "seemed to be tapping" from a shipping container in a cargo ship at Port Newark.

Even though this was a potential illegal-immigration story, the Port Authority reporter was assigned to it, guaranteeing he would continue to ignore the bistate agency's pathetic record on providing mass transit.

Never mind

The second paragraph reported the Coast Guard called off the search at 10:10 the night before after nothing was found, but the third paragraph appearing on A-1 is completely garbled -- as if the assignment and copy editors broke under the demands of deadline reporting.

On Friday, The Record's staff appears to have done a wonderful job of covering the U.S. Supreme Court's endorsement of health-care reform, but sloppy editing left problems on A-1.

Hard to digest

The first paragraph of the story by Staff Writers Lindy Washburn and Mary Jo Layton is long enough to choke a horse, but it could have easily been broken up into two elements -- if Sykes, Sofrza, copy desk supervisor Liz Houlton and others were doing their jobs.

And why does the first paragraph refer to President Obama's "health care plan"? It's a law, not a plan.

An A-1 sidebar below the main story, carrying the bylines of Staff Writer Barbara Williams and Layton, had an extra word in the first paragraph:

 "Lisa Gladwell spent weeks trawling for affordable health care after she was lost her job [my italics] ..."

Elsewhere in Friday's paper, an incomprehensible phrase appears in the data box with the restaurant review in Better Living (BL-16 and 17).

The "ambience" of Nagoya in Mahwah is described as "busy neighborhood sushi meal."

Today's paper

Governor Christie isn't shy about showing his strong Republican bias toward the wealthy, whose campaign contributions helped put him in office (A-1 and A-6).

He vetoed earned income-tax credits for low-income families; grabbed $200 million in affordable housing funds to help balance the budget; refused to restore cuts in family planning clinics; and is expected to veto a tax surcharge on millionaires that would provide additional property tax relief of nearly $800 million.

Ambulance chasing

A large A-1 photo of two non-fatal accidents on Route 46 in Teterboro sends readers to a six-paragraph story at the top of L-1 -- typical of Sykes' and Sforza's use of ho-hum news to fill space.

Sykes and Sforza ignore the real news of the roads: massive traffic jams every day caused by a lack of mass-transit alternatives.  

Far from kosher

The big element on L-1 today is more lavish coverage of the campaign of Republican Shmuley Boteach for Congress -- only reminding readers that they've seen nothing on the campaign of Teaneck Deputy Mayor Adam Gussen for a seat from the 5th District, which includes the township, Hackensack, Fair Lawn and other communities.

Boteach and Gussen are both Orthodox Jews, so one can only wonder why Sykes and Sforza are ignoring the latter and paying so much attention to the former, an Englewood rabbi and author whose publicity mongering is well-known.
Related articles
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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Paper, prosecutor diss dead man's family

English: The Bergen County courthouse in Berge...
A miscarriage of justice was compounded today by a miscarriage of journalism in The Record's report on the long-delayed grand jury probe into the death of Malik Williams.

Why did the editors allow a major error to appear in a headline and in the first paragraph of the lead, front-page story in The Record today?

This whopper exaggerates the actions of Malik Williams, 19, of Garfield -- making him seem a lot more threatening -- before he was shot and killed by two police officers last Dec. 10.

Both the sub-headline on Page 1 and the first paragraph use the word "charging" to describe Williams before he was hit five times by police bullets, suggesting he was running toward the two officers with a hammer and a 16-inch saw.

Misquoting official

The long sub-headline says, "Prosecutor says teen was charging with hammer, saw."

But Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli's statement never uses that word.

Who is responsible for this screw-up, Editor Marty Gottlieb, head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes, Deputy Assistant Assignment Editor Dan Sforza or Editor Liz Houlton, supervisor of the news copy desk, where the inaccurate sub-headline was written? 

Doesn't the word "charging" justify the actions of the two police officers, who were cleared by a grand jury on Wednesday? 

Web site is wrong, too

The word appears twice in the paper, as well as on, without quotation marks, meaning it didn't come from the statement issued by Molinelli, who said Williams "advanced towards" the officers -- a lot different and a lot less menacing than "charging."

In fact, the word "charging" appears  nowhere in Molinelli's statement -- only "advanced towards" and other variations of the word "advanced."

There is a lot more wrong with today's coverage of the Williams case, especially unanswered questions.

Why didn't Molinelli hold a news conference and answer questions from the media? Why did the investigation take more than six months? 

Editors napping again

Why did it take Malik Williams' mother, Shirley, to seek out and try to question the prosecutor at an unrelated meeting on Wednesday? 

Where were the editors and reporters from The Record -- taking their usual midday nap? Why didn't any of them question the prosecutor?

The local-news editors botched the Williams grand jury story, but the Woodland Park daily salvages something with an editorial asking "why two trained officers needed to use deadly force against a hammer and a handsaw" (A-10)?

That is one of the questions the local-news editors should have been asking Molinelli.   

Christie blame game

Also on Page 1 today, the editors continue to humor Governor Christie, who is back to playing his blame game when he doesn't get his way (A-1, A-3 and A-4).

After Christie's "Jersey Comeback" fizzled, because of the state's stumbling economy, the GOP bully is claiming Democrats are holding his income-tax cut hostage.

Hackensack screwed again

Sykes and Sforza had Hackensack reporter Stephanie Akin helping out on the Malik Williams story, so, of course, there is no Hackensack news today -- or anything from Englewood, Teaneck and many other towns.

For the seventh day in a row, Staff Writer John Brennan has a story about the lawsuit against the American Dream entertainment and retail complex, which is eagerly awaited by the state's shopaholics (L-1).

You'd think Brennan, a former sports reporter, is being slipped large quantities of money by the Giants and Jets, who filed the frivolous action.

Buried on L-7 today is a report on a cushy job for another Christie crony, former Bergen County Freeholder Todd Caliguire, a Republican lawyer.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Why working at The Record is a gas

Comic actor
An act familiar to anyone who has worked on The Record's news copy desk.

There is more important news on Page 1 and elsewhere in The Record today, but the item you really want to read is buried on L-3 in the Local section.

Under a generic headline, "Neighbor threatened with gun," a six-paragraph story reports a 72-year-old Teaneck man was charged for "allegedly threatening his neighbor ... for passing gas outside his apartment."

"Passing gas"? How quaint. As in, My hybrid car is passing gas stations.

'Farting' on the Web

However, on, the same reporter wrote the man allegedly threatened his neighbor with a revolver "for farting outside his apartment." 

The suspect told police the neighbor "farted" as he walked in front of the apartment -- a loud expelling of air through the narrow sphincter muscle that could be heard inside.

The headline says, "Police: Teaneck man, 72, pointed gun at neighbor over flatulence."

Here is a link to the story on the Web:

Man allegedly draws gun over fart 

By 6 p.m. today, nearly 900 readers had recommended the story on Facebook.

Room clearer

Why did head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and Deputy Assignment Editor Dan Sforza shy away from using "farting" and "farted" in the paper?

Why didn't Editor Liz Houlton, supervisor of the news copy desk at the Woodland Park daily, flag "passing gas" as hopelessly outmoded?

The news copy editors should have been especially sensitive, because one of them has a malodorous reputation for farting throughout his shift, which usually begins in late afternoon and can run to midnight and beyond.

Zillions of farts

The farting has gone on for decades and no one except the copy editor himself knows whether it is an obscure medical condition -- fartonitis -- or can be traced to something he eats or is a result of severe lactose intolerance. 

Of course, the copy editors who sit near this gaseous bag have long complained -- to no avail.

That's why working at The Record has always been a gas.

And that's why Publisher Stephen A. Borg and Vice President/General Counsel Jennifer A. Borg, and some of the editors who work for them, long have targeted all of the "old farts" in the newsroom.

All of them except the veteran news copy editor who really smells up the place.

Page A-1 v. Page L-1

Three strong front pages on Monday, Tuesday and today have readers wondering why the Local news section remains so weak.

Page 1 on Monday informed readers the mild winter of 2012 meant nearly 2,000 fewer deaths.

At the bottom of the page, a profile of defense Attorney Robert Galantucci was the equivalent of a million dollars worth of free publicity, especially because it omitted what he charges his clients.

Today's front page reports another 1,000 jobs will be lost when Roche closes down its plant in Nutley and Clifton.

The two towns will lose about $14 million in tax ratables.

Roche is one of those so-called job creators Governer Christie and other Republicans are falling all over themselves helping with tax breaks and other favorable treatment. 

It's rare, but the news copy desk today came up with a clever headline over an A-1 report on nepotism in Garfield's schools:

Friends and family plan

This week's continuing coverage of a lawsuit filed Friday by the Giants and Jets shows the attempt to shut down the entertainment and retail complex called American Dream on Sundays has gone over like a lead balloon. 

On the Local front today, the Big Moron behind the Road Warrior column wrote a first paragraph about "the big bridge on the Hudson" and "the big mall called Willowbrook."

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Finally, some ink for the have-nots

English: Dwight Morrow High School
Few white students attended Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood before it added the Academies program. Englewood Cliffs sued to remove its students years earlier.

Not long after he pushed his father aside in June 2006, Publisher Stephen A. Borg hired a non-profit reporter to find out whether the pennies the young millionaire was donating to charity were being wasted.

Borg was born with a silver spoon in his mouth -- not with a social conscience -- so it's no surprise The Record hasn't paid too much attention to the victims of the recession, which saw the high-living publisher move into a $3.65 million mansion. 

Today, Editor Marty Gottlieb and that non-profit reporter, Harvy Lipman, present a hard-hitting package of stories and photos under a banner headline on Page 1, documenting that the number of North Jersey residents "falling into poverty or struggling to keep their heads above water continues to grow."

Scandalous editor

What is remarkable about the stories, photos and graphics filled with startling statistics is how little attention the long-term unemployed and other recession victims received from Gottlieb's insensitive predecessor as editor, Francis "Frank" Scandale, who was fired last October after 11 years in the job. 

The photographs by Staff Photographer Mitsu Yasukawa are moving.

But some of the charts raise questions about why residents of Alpine, Saddle River and other wealthy communities are receiving food stamps (A-9).

The danger of such comprehensive coverage is that readers may start to wonder why head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and her deputy, Dan Sforza, have failed to report all of this before.

Granny power

That's also the case with Mike Kelly's A-1 column on Lynne Hurwitz, the Democratic power broker behind the decades-long reign of the Zisa family in Hackensack.

Kelly tries to make up for the paper's lack of attention by bombarding readers with almost everything they don't really want to know about Hurwitz except how she lost her virginity.

More idiocy

On Sykes Local front, another Road Warrior column on Infuriating Driving Issues of the Day only serves to remind readers the acronym -- IDIOD -- sounds surprisingly close to IDIOT, a reference to the moron who writes this drivel, John Cichowski.

Sykes and Sforza have been sitting on their asses for so many years, they don't know enough to tell Cichowski to write more about Infuriating Mass-Transit Issues of the Day and less about drivers, in a region that is hopelessly choked with traffic.

White flight

The L-1 story on school districts enrolling outsiders reports Englewood school officials were under a state mandate "to diversify" Dwight Morrow High School.

But the truth is the mandate was "to desegregate" a high school that had few white students.

If you doubt Sykes and Sforza can't find any municipal news to report, look at L-3 today -- a stupid political column and three feel-good stories.

Why is a "world issues" literature program at Tenafly High School -- out of all the other schools in North Jersey -- worthy of a long story in the local-news section (L-3)?

Bottom feeder

In his column on the Business front today and in his monthly Marketbasket survey of supermarket prices, Staff Writer Kevin DeMarrais continues to be in denial about the tens of thousands of shopper who buy organic food (B-1).

You won't find The Corner Table column in Better Living today, because Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung is on vacation.

No loss. Readers need a vacation from her shameless promotion of chefs, wine stewards and restaurant owners. 

Here are two of her vacation tweets:
Amazing clam chowder at in Pismo Beach, CA. No wonder the line is out the door
Amused to see these on the dining room table at Hearst Castle

Want to read more? Here is the link:  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Weekly scoops daily with old news

Two mice; the mouse on the left has more fat s...
Two of The Record's editors prepare to sniff out local stories at the morning news meeting in Woodland Park.

The front page of The Record is dominated today by a large photo of a woman few readers recognize -- the ex-girlfriend of former Hackensack Police Chief Ken "I Am The Law" Zisa.

But readers won't find a word about Hackensack residents who have called for the resignation of City Attorney Joseph C. Zisa, a member of the family that has ruled Zisaville for decades.

On Friday, the weekly Hackensack Chronicle reported that at a June 11 meeting of the City Council, residents said Joseph Zisa has recused himself from handling lawsuits against the former chief -- his cousin -- forcing the city to hire attorney Denis Calo.

Squandering taxes

Gadfly Kathy Canestrino said, "We are now paying for two city attorneys -- each of you averaging about $280,000 in charges to the city."

Joseph Zisa said nothing in response to the call for his resignation, the weekly paper reported.

There was no coverage of the June 11 meeting in The Record on June 12 or 13, nor has there been any mention of the potential conflict Joseph Zisa's position represents or of calls for him to resign.

Bored, lazy editors

That's because head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and Deputy Assistant Assignment Editor Dan Sforza have been enthralled with the soap opera of Ken Zisa and Kathleen Tiernan, who has been described in news reports as the convicted chief's former "live-in girlfriend."

Legitimate news of Hackensack and many other towns doesn't really interest the bored editors, who for more years than readers care to remember have been unable to inspire their staff to turn out a comprehensive local-news report.

Does Editor Marty Gottlieb really think the sentencing of Tiernan to Pre-Trial Intervention,  a probation program, for insurance fraud deserves to be on the front page or to lead today's Local section?

One question Sykes has never answered is whether Zisa ever woke up Tiernan in the middle of the night and demanded, "Baby! Hold my gun."

Kicking butt

Also on Page 1 today, the subtext of a lawsuit filed against American Dream is that the huge Meadowlands retail and entertainment project will prove far more popular than watching the Giants and Jets butt heads on the field (and slap and ream butts in the locker room).

In Sykes' Local section, Sykes found room for a large photo of a fuel spill on a highway ramp in Franklin Lakes (L-1) -- part of the comprehensive coverage of minor accidents she has demanded from her talented staff photographers.

On the same page, a production error led to a word from the sub-headline ending up under a photo -- above the caption -- and part of the caption ending up between the main headline and byline (L-1).

Friday's paper

On Friday's Page 1, Sykes and the other editors continued to nibble around the edges of the obesity epidemic The Record tries so hard to ignore.

North Jersey hospitals have been using double-wide wheelchairs; bigger, stronger beds and operating tables, and other measures "to treat the growing ranks of obese patients," Staff Writer Mary Jo Layton reports.

What about the growing ranks of obese editors who subvert coverage of obesity and wink at photos of an ever larger Governor Christie? 

Fat is good

The Woodland Park daily even has obesity cheerleaders in Food Editor Susan Leigh Sherrill and Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung, whose obsession with dessert is well-known.

In Friday's Better Living section, Ung made room for several desserts, including a "tiny, tangy cheesecake," at Latitude 41 Lounge & Restaurant.

After looking over her lukewarm, 2-star appraisal, I could see readers leaping into their cars to sample the fare at this quirky lakeside place in West Milford, which might as well be on another planet for most Bergen County residents.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

'That's such a crummy newspaper'

English: An NY/NJ Port Authority Police Depart...
Port Authority police have been trying to discourage drivers from using the $3.50 car-pool discount at Hudson River crossings, including the George Washington Bridge.

This week, I met a woman who never cancelled her subscription to The New York Times after she moved to Fort Lee from Manhattan decades ago.

"That's such a crummy newspaper," she sniffed, when I mentioned The Record.

You'd think she would be interested in The Record now that it has ex-Timesman Marty Gottlieb running the newsroom and ordering his subeditors and reporters to rewrite the New York paper and other media.

Get me rewrite

For three days running this week, the Woodland Park daily's front page was dominated by a scandal involving halfway houses -- a story The Times broke on Sunday.

Compare The Times' 10-month investigation to The Record's nearly 3-year investigation of a single man, Michael Mordaga, the former chief of detectives in Hackensack and at the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office.

Head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes squandered an estimated $500,000 in staff salaries, and didn't even come up with a story strong enough to put on Page 1.

Other media lead way

Today's lead front-page story on the Port Authority's car-pool discount is based on "recent media reports" (A-8).

Notice The Record's spin on drivers picking up other commuters at the Fort Lee end of the George Washington Bridge so they can ask for a car-pool discount -- $3.50 instead of the usual E-ZPass rush-hour toll of $9.50.

The story claims Port Authority police have a "safety concern," and that's why the bi-state agency has been ticketing drivers.

Of course. Drivers could pick up a rapist, murderer or worse -- a Tea Party member.

Discount disclaimer

But the truth is the Port Authority will do anything to prevent commuters from saving money after the agency hiked tolls on the Hudson River crossings last year, including raising the $2.50 car-pool discount.

Why does The Record refer to it as the "little-known" discount?

It's because the paper's so-called transportation reporters and its commuting columnist, Road Warrior John Cichowski, have rarely publicized any of the discounts available to car-poolers, hybrid-car owners and seniors.

Even today's A-1 story fails to mention the car-pool discount is available at any time of the day as long as you have three people in the car and you register beforehand by calling E-ZPass.

Mass hysteria

A brief on A-9 advises readers of another NJ Transit We Are Listening forum to hear complaints, comments or compliments from commuters.

A long-line of transportation reporters, starting with Deputy Assignment Editor Dan Sforza, have told commuters, We Are Not Listening. 

Instead of covering mass transit, The Record covers the meetings of mass-transit agencies.

Old data

The lead story in Sykes' Local section is about the mortality rate from open-heart surgeries at North Jersey hospitals, but the data is from 2009.

Sykes and Sforza managed to find two stories from sleepy Hillsdale.

Yet, there is no municipal news from Hackensack, Teaneck, Englewood or other large towns.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

We get it: Jersey is corrupt

Englewood's City Hall on Memorial Day. Today, The Record's local editors show they learned nothing from their time covering the city as reporters.

New York. Paris. Hey, you've got to be impressed with Editor Marty Gottlieb's journalism credentials.

But as today's front page clearly shows, readers wish he had spent a lot more time in New Milford, Paramus and all the other small and big home-rule towns that make up The Record's North Jersey beat.

Just because the paper's political columnist has had his head buried in his ass since Governor Christie took office doesn't mean Gottlieb now has to run a Page 1 story throwing cold water on the GOP bully's reformer image.

Cronies and worse

Readers long have known that image is just so much bullshit. 

And for years, the editors have ignored all the evidence that Christie is just another Jersey politician who has rewarded his cronies with high-paying jobs.

When Christie was the corruption-busting U.S. attorney and lionized by a bored media, he steered hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees to a former U.S. attorney general who was his boss and to a former federal judge.

Once in office, he killed the biggest mass transit project in a region hopelessly choked with traffic, packed the Port Authority with his cronies and rubber-stamped exorbitant toll hikes on Hudson River crossings and the turnpike.

Has The Record ever bothered to list all the jobs he has given in an out of his administration to former members of his staff at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark? 

More from Zisaville

So, today's Page 1 stories on Christie and Ken "I Am The Law" Zisa, the convicted former Hackensack police chief, tell readers nothing they don't already know about Jersey-style corruption.

And they serve to remind Hackensack residents of how head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and her lazy deputy assignment editor, Dan Sforza, have subverted the local-news operation.

Like Monsy Alvarado, the previous Hackensack reporter, Staff Writer Stephanie Akin has written more about Zisa than any other issue affecting residents.

If past practice is any guide, Akin will cover every burp, cough and fart of the 20-plus civil suits filed against the former police chief by his subordinates -- and completely neglect just about everything else that happens in Hackensack.

Errors 'R' Us

Residents remain in the dark about the city's budget and tax rate, and other important news.

On Page 1 today, Akin reports a June 6 deposition given by Zisa is the first time he has spoken on "the public record" since he was convicted in May of official misconduct and insurance fraud.

But a deposition isn't public, and doesn't become part of the public record until it is filed with the court as part of a motion. Or, it may be used at a trial. 

The only people who find New Jersey's red-light program "controversial" are lead-footed drivers who blow through them, causing accidents and killing themselves and others (A-3).

Road worrier

On Sykes' Local front, Road Warrior John Cichowski has mastered writing an entire column -- supposedly about commuting -- from the air-conditioned comfort of his home or office (L-1).

Today's inconsequential piece answers e-mails from drivers -- at least one of whom is blind.

Peter DeMaio of Totowa claims the Garden State Parkway "no longer offers cash receipts." DeMaio somehow has missed all the toll lanes marked "Cash" and "Receipts."

Fire sale

In an L-1 story about plans for a new firehouse in Englewood, the editors err in discussing a development parcel made up of the firehouse and "the shuttered Liberty School."

It's the 100-year-old plus Lincoln School -- next to the firehouse -- that is closed. Liberty, which is blocks away, is used by school administrators.

Both Sykes and Sforza covered Englewood as reporters. How did they let that major error get through?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Editor jumped ship, landed in rowboat

New York Times Tower seen from streetlevel
Jumping off The Times' building in Manhattan might have done more for Marty Gottlieb's career than taking over the dysfunctional newsroom at The Record of Woodland Park.

Marty Gottlieb, a suave and sophisticated Paris-based editor for The New York Times, jumped ship and landed in a leaky rowboat called the S.S. Record.

Now, it seems, The Times is paying him back by scooping the relatively new editor of the Woodland Park daily with an expose of escapes, sex assaults, drug use and gang activity at halfway houses (A-1 on Monday and today). 

They are managed by a company with "deep ties" to Governor Christie.

Hard times

The Times broke the story on Sunday after a 10-month investigation that began before Gottlieb left the New York-based paper.

The Record's local-news rowboat continues to spring leaks and bail water under the ponderous weight of head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and her incompetent bosun's mate, Deputy Assignment Editor Dan Sforza.
Locals are yokels

Local, the section that is supposed to be filled with local news, was pathetically weak today, Monday and Sunday.

Today, so many of the stories on the Local front and elsewhere in the section are based on court rulings or sentences and lawsuits.

Where is the municipal news from Hackensack, Englewood and many other towns?
Living dead

Make sure you look at Staff Writer Denisa Superville's bright feature on FDU Professor John Edwin Cowin reading poetry at Louie's Charcoal Pit in Teaneck (L-1).

Her story only serves to remind readers how little they see about interesting local residents -- until they are given a sendoff by Staff Writer Jay Levin, the local obituary writer.

Food for thought

A story on the Better Living cover today delivers a hard-sell for krill oil, a supplement from a small ocean crustacean that helps give wild salmon their deep red-orange color (BL-1).

The story appears after Consumer Reports and other publications found little benefit from a wide range of dietary supplements. 

On Monday's Better Living front, Food Editor Susan Leigh Sherrill praised "American Grown," the book by Michelle Obama, who started a kitchen garden at the White House as part of the first lady's focus on healthy eating and childhood obesity.

Of course, Sherrill doesn't acknowledge all the cookbooks she has promoted by publishing some of the unhealthiest recipes under the sun -- filled with lard, butter and heavy cream.
What Kelly missed

On Sunday's front page, Columnist Mike Kelly's opus on Garfield included a discussion of the city's demographics, but he somehow forgot to mention its large Polish population.

There is nothing like Page 1 play to reveal just how weak Kelly is as a reporter and writer.

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

More readers scream, Who cares?

Hackensack, New Jersey
The YMCA on Main Street in Hackensack.

On Page 1 of The Record today, the Hackensack reporter is writing about a hardware store in Glen Rock.

Columnist Mike Kelly grabs most of the front page to push around thousands of words about Garfield's woes without slamming inaction by environmental officials or investigative foot-dragging by Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli.

Readers of the Local front try to figure out what Road Warrior John Cichowski is trying to say about GPS systems -- especially the large majority of drivers who don't have them and spend most of the time lost because of lousy road signs.

Promoting business

In every section today, Editor Marty Gottlieb and his subeditors seem so bored with their job of covering local news that they often chase after the irrelevant or end up promoting a commercial agenda.

Most of L-1 is devoted to a story by Jay Levin, the local obituary writer, on efforts by North Jersey towns to control the spread of dog shit.

No Hackensack news

There is no Hackensack news in today's paper, but an L-3 story lists eight streets in Rutherford that will be repaired. 

A huge photo on the same page shows two columns of charitable, overweight motorcyclists who are breaking every anti-noise ordinance on the books, but never get tickets (L-3).

Vacant stares

Why should shoppers care about vacant stores on Routes 4 and 17 (Business front)?

Similarly, why should restaurant goers care about the problems of chefs selling barbecue in North Jersey -- especially in The Corner Table, a column that is supposed to be devoted to customers' issues (Better Living front)? 

Too bad a sappy Father's Day column by Kelly appears on the same page with far more compelling reading -- an upbeat piece on the challenge to the health-care law and another on the criminality embodied by Richard Nixon (Opinion front).

Wealth management

In view of how most people can't afford a second home on the New Jersey shore, why do the insensitive editors flaunt the wealth of North Jerseyans who buy "bargain" vacations home in Europe (Real Estate front)?

Travel-section weary

Talk about being out-of-touch.

Three of the four shore restaurants recommended by Food Editor Susan Leigh Sherrill are in far-off Wildwood and Atlantic City (Travel front).

What about the shore north of Asbury Park? Are all those places serving swill?

She promotes American Cut in Atlantic City, a steakhouse that charges $26 to $135 for entrees, but she doesn't say whether the beef is naturally raised or filled with harmful additives.