Saturday, February 8, 2014

More space is wasted on the musing of columnists

A man with a cane and a bag of groceries stopping to pray on West 165th Street in Manhattan on Friday afternoon, despite temperatures in the 20s and a biting wind.

On Broadway and West 168th Street in Manhattan is a Columbia University medical building named for patron Russ Berrie, the toy company mogul who lived in Englewood, where his name also appears on a wing of Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.


Newspaper readers rarely pay attention to bylines, but the lead story on Page 1 of The Record today speaks volumes about one veteran staffer who has struggled with column writing in the past decade.

Mike Kelly banged out a hard-hitting news story on how Christie administration officials courted Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for more than two years, then retaliated when the Democrat wouldn't endorse the GOP bully for a new term last year (A-1).

The payback took the form of George Washington Bridge local access lane closures that caused gridlock in the borough in early September, triggering the Bridgegate investigation that threatens Christie's viability as governor and presidential hopeful.

Kelly's news story is not only a scoop -- the first time Sokolich has directly linked the traffic jams to his refusal to cross party lines and endorse Christie. 

It is well-written and well-organized -- everything Kelly's columns are not, especially the one he did recently based on an interview with Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, another Democrat who has exposed the Christie administration's dirty tricks.

More wasted space

Readers usually are not well-served by The Record's columnists, as today's and Friday's front-page nonsense from sports writer Bob Klapisch shows.

Klapisch's dated column photo is the least of it. 

On Friday, he spent the first six paragraphs of his tribute to Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner on an anecdote dating to 1983 that was lost on most readers.

Today, Klapisch appoints himself a legal and public relations expert in commenting on Alex Rodriguez withdrawing his lawsuits (A-1).

More road kill

The Record's accident photos, which have been used as filler by the inept local assignment desk, are the equivalent of drive-by shootings.

The photo of an overturned car on L-1 today is typical: 

Was the driver killed or injured? Were there any passengers in the car? Did the vehicle burst into flames? Did speed cause the accident? Readers don't have a clue.

Attorney's fees

A news story on a tentative $100 million settlement of suits against contraceptive maker Merck & Co. quotes an attorney as saying he doesn't how much money each plaintiff would get (L-1).

But the story fails to say plaintiffs' attorneys are expected to be awarded roughly one-third of the $100 million to cover their inflated fees and expenses.

Early Alzheimer's

The addled Road Warrior, Staff Writer John Cichowski, continues to demonstrate how much space is wasted on his columns, according to a concerned reader:

"In his Tuesday column, the Road Warrior marveled at how light traffic was on Super Bowl day, even though it had been widely predicted by TV and Internet news reports well in advance of the game. 
"[And] the Road Warrior failed to apologize for his atrocious, mistake-filled and irresponsible Super Bowl Sunday column that predicted endless traffic jams."

For the full e-mail to management and the editors, see Road Warrior Bloopers on Facebook:

Wishing for a Meadowlands miracle

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