Monday, December 30, 2013

What a concept: One reporter writes many stories

On Route 4 west in Paramus, a McDonald's -- the nation's largest purveyor of cheap, low-quality food -- a 24 Hour Fitness and Miller's N.J. Ale House send mixed messages, above and below.


Staff Writer Stefanie Dazio turns in a dazzling performance in The Record today.

This reporter is everywhere -- from the sensational shooting of an 85-year-old woman on Page 1 to four bylines in Local (L-2 and L-6) to a Q&A with a plastic surgeon on the Better Living front (BL-1).

She just might have exceeded all the bylines a veteran Record reporter like Jean Rimbach has in an entire year, and I'll bet Rimbach, who has been around forever, gets paid far more.

Rimbach, likely the least productive reporter at The Record, is among The Protected Ones, favorites of head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes, whose power seems undiminished during a prolonged absence from the newsroom.

A Jersey girl

On Twitter, Dazio identifies herself as a features and weekend news reporter at The Record of Woodland Park. She graduated from American University in May 2013.

She also has her own Web site,, which tells us she is a Jersey girl who "has been working in the newspaper industry since the fifth grade."

Her "accomplishments as an 11-year-old editor-in-chief include a scathing column that decried the school's cafeteria fare," according to

I love it. 

Dazio had the presence of mind at 11 to critique low-quality school cafeteria food, but the idea of doing such a story about the crappy fare at Hackensack High or other schools escapes the six-figure editors at The Record.

Botched crime story

Dazio was one of three reporters who worked on the shooting of a Lodi grandmother, and here is another poorly edited crime story that leaves readers begging for more information (A-1).

Lodi police refused to say anything, so the story quotes John L. Molinelli from an e-mail, and the Bergen County prosecutor didn't return phone calls.

Molinelli told the paper police have a suspect, but doesn't identify him -- no surprise given how The Record minimized the prosecutor's accomplishments after Governor Christie nominated a successor a few months ago. 

Wrong interviews

A 911 call reporting the shooting was made at 6:21 a.m. Sunday, so what's the point of quoting a neighbor who left the house "shortly before 6 a.m." on whether he had heard shots (A-4)?

Instead of interviewing the owner of the Union Food Mart, the paper quotes a woman, who didn't want to be identified, as saying she "saw" a sheriff's officer ask the food-store owner "if he knew 'a kid named Joe,'" and show the merchant a photo.

The victim, Olga Bariso, is said to live at home with her husband, Joseph, a grandson and another relative, but the story doesn't say whether the grandson or relative is the "kid named Joe."

Readers seem to get a clue in a quote from the parish priest, the Rev. John Galeano, who said he dedicated part of his Sunday sermon "to discussing dysfunctional families."

But Galeano wasn't asked if he was referring to the victim's family

Who wrote this?

Finally, the most ridiculous paragraph is the third on Page 1:

"It was the second widely reported attack on a woman in her own home in Bergen County during the holiday season," comparing the shooting to the fatal stabbing on Thursday of Teia Gallo, 20, the adopted daughter of a Washington Township obstetric gynecologist, allegedly by her younger brother.

That sentence sounds like something you'd see in The New York Times to provide readers with context, but here it seems like a stretch.

Thai news

On A-4 today, a wire-service story on care for Alzheimer's patients in far off Thailand only serves to remind readers of how little coverage they find in The Record about victims of the disease in North Jersey.

Out of focus

In Local, more than a dozen of the long-suffering photo staff's best images in 2013 appear on L-1 and L-3. 

Why isn't the best of the best on Page 1 today?

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