Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cichowski, Kelly and Ervolino -- take a hint

Can you guess the location of this photo in Bergen County, near Hackensack?


The wrong columnist announced his retirement in The Record's thin Sunday edition today.

Kevin DeMarrais, the paper's lone voice for the consumer, is bowing out after 20 years, without saying whether the Your Money's Worth column will be written by someone else (B-1).

Of course, DeMarrais was the least offensive of The Record's veteran, white-male news columnists.

Readers would love to see last columns from John Cichowski, the error-prone Road Warrior; Mike Kelly, the reporter who pushes words around and rarely ventures a strong opinion; and Bill Ervolino, whose funny stand-up routine falls flat on the printed page.

DeMarrais pats himself on the back, and thanks "senior management and editors" for their support, "even when I got advertisers upset."

But he doesn't mention his failures, including never listing organic and naturally raised food in his monthly survey of supermarket prices.

Nor does he remind readers he went to bat for a businesswoman, without telling readers she had sold a private jet to North Jersey Media Group Chairman Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg and his best friend, real estate mogul Jon F. Hanson.

Today's paper

If you count the story that leads the paper today and opinion columns, nearly three full pages of the Sunday edition are devoted to analyzing Governor Christie's actions in the George Washington Bridge lane closures in Fort Lee (A-1 and O-1).

Did anyone get through the Page 1 "ANALYSIS" of "key words" in the 344-page report that Christie commissioned at taxpayers' expense -- a report that has been denounced as a self-serving whitewash?

Editor Marty Gottlieb thinks readers have all the time in the world to plow through stories and columns that are top-heavy with background and bury the "nut graf" -- the hard-hitting conclusion or opinion.

Try not to fall asleep reading the "nut graf" of today's long and winding piece at the top of A-1:

"The report prepared by lead attorney Randy Mastro of Gibson Dunn appears to diverge from those [investigative] standards in several ways, according to an analysis by The Record and interviews with experienced investigators."

Three reporters and an unknown number of editors and graphic artists worked on this snorefest, which goes a long way toward explaining why young people don't read newspapers anymore.

Local-news follies

Readers looking for local news today strike out, thanks to Deputy Assignment Editor Dan Sforza and writers of the photo captions.

On the Local front, none of the five donors to the Pascack Valley Meals on Wheels are identified in the caption (L-1).

On L-3, a photo caption blames a power outage in Leonia on a "primary splice fail" that caused smoke and a small explosion.

The section includes municipal news from Kinnelon and West Milford, but nothing from Teaneck or Hackensack.

Restaurant propaganda

On the Better Living cover, Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung is trying to make us believe none of her readers are upset about ever-higher prices, especially $9 or $10 for a single glass of wine, or a tipping system that puts the burden on the customer to provide servers with a living wage (BL-1).

Second look

A story on moving Englewood's Dwight Morrow High School "toward full integration" makes no mention of doing the same at the city's segregated elementary and middle schools (Friday's Local front).


  1. I had a primary splice fail last week -- put too much aleppo pepper on my omelet after reading your food blog thank you very much.


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