Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dumbing down of the paper accelerates

The city of Hackensack has been extremely slow in embracing solar power, which would save money and help the environment. Mount Olive Baptist Church on Central Avenue in Hackensack installed hundreds of panels six years ago, above and below.

Monday's Page 1 story on  Municipal Judge Vince A. Sicari misnamed the ethics panel that has asked him to give up moonlighting as a standup comedian, according to an A-2 correction today.

The story called it the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct (A-4), which isn't even close and doesn't make sense, because it is his conduct outside the courtroom that is being questioned.

The correct name is the Advisory Committee on Extrajudicial Activities.

This is the latest in a series of embarrassing errors on the front page or in Page 1 stories under the inept supervision of Production Editor Liz Houlton.

Houlton was promoted to the six-figure job, despite all the years she ran the features copy desk and allowed numerous errors to get past her cursor, only to appear in Food and other sections.

No laughing matter

With the departure of Jimmy Margulies, fans of his often brilliant editorial page cartoons will no longer see a New Jersey focus, as demonstrated today by the Las Vegas Sun's lame effort (A-8).

I don't know what's worse: Sunday's headline on A-4, "Police shoot man with knife," or the heading on today's letter to the editor pointing it out: "Convertible cutting device?"

2 more staffers leave

The lifer who wrote those headings for years, Charles Saydah, editor of letters to the editor, is giving up his cushy job, according to another staffer's Facebook page.

A third staffer who is leaving, Justo Bautista, is one of the hardest working reporters in the Woodland Park newsroom.

Bautista, who is in his 60s, is a police reporter who also wrote numerous stories about war veterans in North Jersey.

His hustle and legwork will be hard to replace, and his departure further reduces newsroom diversity.

Local snooze

In place of news from Hackensack and other towns, head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and her deputy, Dan Sforza, throw readers a few bones:

-- A story and photo on the crash of a FedEx van leads Local (L-1).

-- A photo and caption on the crash of a delivery truck (L-3), with the imaginative overline, "CRASH IN FORT LEE."

-- A filler on a bank robbery (L-2) has a photo showing investigators standing around and bullshitting. 

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