Saturday, April 26, 2014

These editors again fail to deliver hometown news

The quality of life in North Jersey -- including aircraft noise over Hackensack and other towns near Teterboro and Newark airports, above, or gaping potholes that damage car tires and wheels -- are of no interest to the editors of The Record's Local news section who appear to spend most of their time reading tabloids in the newsroom toilet.


I'm shocked by the amount of Law & Order news in The Record's Local section today and Friday.

Police, fire, accident and court news and photos dominate almost every page.

But readers also find stories about the police, including Friday's report on raises for the Pal Park chief and today's solemn piece on a vigil for Daniel Breslin, the hospitalized Bergen County police officer who was severely injured by an allegedly drunk driver (A-1 and L-1).

Sforza stumbles

Deputy Assignment Editor Dan Sforza was so desperate to fill his pages today he ran a freelance shot of a Route 80 accident in Hackensack from inside the photographer's car (L-3).

Now that's chintzy hometown news coverage. Still, Sforza stands proud, shouting, Who says we don't cover Hackensack? 

Sforza's stumbling around for the last several months would seem to call for the return of head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes after a prolonged convalescence.

On vacation?

When is the last time readers saw Hannan Adely's byline on a Hackensack story? Has she been reassigned, sent to cover the Syrian civil war or what?

On Friday, the weekly Hackensack Chronicle reported the City Council on Monday night approved a $760,000 bond ordinance to repave streets and perform related work.

After the meeting, resident Steven Gelber's Hackensack Scoop blog reported that Mayor John Labrosse announced former campaign manager Thom Ammirato will no longer be writing press releases for the mayor or Deputy Mayor Katherine Canestrino.

But Labrosse said Ammirato's salary of $6,500 a month wouldn't be adjusted at this time, Gelber reported.

Following Gelber's lead, Adely of The Record has reported that Ammirato also has a full-time position with Bergen County, and serves as public relations consultant to at least three Republicans in the state Legislature.

But the Woodland Park daily hasn't reported on this latest wrinkle in the Ammirato story or approval of the street-paving bond ordinance.

The woefully short list of streets listed in the Chronicle story continues to omit Euclid Avenue, between Prospect and Summit avenues, a potholed block that hasn't been repaved for decades. 

Euclid Avenue potholes, above and below.

Friday's Record

Editor Marty Gottlieb led Friday's paper with a long report on the incredible mess Governor Christie has made of road, highway and mass-transit improvements by refusing to hike the low gasoline tax to fund them.

This is basically a four-year-old story The Record has ignored until now, especially increasingly congested traffic, and crowded trains and buses.

Barf bags

In Better Living, Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung pans Port of Call American Fusion Buffet and Sushi in Hackensack.

Still, she feels it necessary to tell readers the all-you-can eat format "would be good for people with big appetites."

The data box on Friday's BL-18 lists only four recommended dishes, two of them desserts, but omits other dishes Ung praised in the text. 

Did anyone edit the piece?

Today's paper

Gottlieb's Page 1 today includes another story on the agonizingly slow investigative and legal process in the wake of January's explosive revelations in the George Washington Bridge scandal.

Since members of the GOP bully's inner circle in Trenton and at the Port Authority admitted they orchestrated four days of gridlock in Democratic Fort Lee, all readers have seen are firings and resignations, and targets lawyering up and taking the Fifth.

Christie himself hired a friendly law firm at taxpayers' expense to produce a whitewash declaring the governor had no knowledge or involvement in the lane closures.

Other stories and columns appear designed to help Christie repair his battered image (A-3).

The slow legal process is designed to ensure greedy lawyers who charge exorbitant hourly rates will walk away with literally millions of dollars in fees no matter who is found to be at fault for an apparent pattern of political retribution.

Paramus woes

Today's front page also includes a story on a "big change for Paramus," which has eased rules on retail signs along Routes 4 and 17.

This piece continues The Record's ad-fueled focus on major retail chains over Main Street merchants.

The last story on local merchants reported on a few record stores, as in those selling vinyl recordings, and continued to ignore struggling downtowns in Hackensack, Englewood, Teaneck and other towns.

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